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McSally Win Gives Republicans Another House Seat (Updated)

McSally is a Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
McSally is a Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:14 p.m. | Republican Martha McSally has officially defeated Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., after a protracted recount in the Tucson-based 2nd District reaffirmed her lead .  

MsSally won the seat by 167 votes, picking up six votes after the recount, according to elections officials. Barber conceded shortly after the official tally was released.  

“Today I congratulated Martha McSally on her victory, and wished her well in serving Southern Arizonans,” Barber said in a statement. “This result is not the one we hoped for, but we take solace in having spoken out loud and clear for the principle that every legal vote should be counted.”  

Including McSally’s victory, House Republicans picked up a net of 13 seats in the midterms, giving the conference a historic majority .  

“There’s no getting around that this was an incredibly close and hard-fought race,” McSally said in a statement. “After what’s been a long campaign season, it’s time to come together and heal our community. That’s why my focus will be on what unites us, not what divides us, such as providing better economic opportunity for our families and ensuring our country and community are kept safe.”  

This campaign marked McSally’s third attempt at winning the 2nd District seat.  

The retired Air Force colonel first ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in a special election in 2012, following former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ resignation. Giffords and Barber were injured in a shooting at a local supermarket in 2011. Several people died, including Gabe Zimmerman , one of the congresswoman’s top aides.  

In the general election in 2012, McSally lost to Barber by about 2,500 votes. But the race was so close, McSally attended freshman orientation on Capitol Hill before Barber ultimately was declared the winner.  

This cycle, the margin was so thin that state law required an automated recount, leaving this race in limbo for more than a month after Election Day.  

Republicans had targeted this seat for a pick up, and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district by a 2-point margin in 2012. Democratic operatives say they do not expect Barber to wage a comeback bid, citing his young grandchildren.  

But they add there is a bench of Democrats who could challenge McSally in 2016, including Randall Friese, one of the surgeons who helped operate on Giffords and others following the shooting. Friese won a state House seat last month.  

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