Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have a lot invested in keeping her old Arizona seat Democratic. It is currently held by Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) who was Giffords' congressional district director. He was wounded in the same attack that injured Giffords.
Giffords and her gun control organization Americans for Responsible Solutions have poured approximately $2 million into the district for ads attacking Col. Martha McSally USAF (Ret). McSally lost to Barber for the same seat in 2012. According to the latest Federal Elections Commission reports, they put in over $500,000 in the first half of October alone.
Americans for Responsible Solutions had been running the ad below which was inaccurate. They removed it 24 hours before it was supposed to go off the air. Politico ran a full story on Giffords' and ARS' misleading attacks on McSally. They claimed it was because McSally reversed her position on stalkers and guns.
Thus, it has to be a big slap in the face to Gabby, Mark, and Americans for Responsible Solutions to see McSally leading Barber by 36 votes with the ballots from Cochise County yet to be counted.
Technical problems with voting machines in Cochise County have delayed results in the region’s most-watched race, but it could bode well for GOP challenger Martha McSally.McSally currently has 78,785 votes to Barber's 78,749 with 49 precincts uncounted.
She and Democrat Ron Barber, the incumbent, were separated by only 36 votes, according to the latest totals this morning.
However, Cochise County tallies are missing and McSally was expected to have another strong showing in the county she won in 2012 by 59 percent to 41 percent.
If things go the way that they should, McSally will win this race. Assuming that happens, it will be amusing to see how Giffords and Kelly and their henchmen at Americans for Responsible Solutions spin the result. There is just no way to do it without looking foolish.
UPDATE: According to the official Arizona Secretary of State election returns, Martha McSally is leading Rep. Ron Barber by 2,078 votes with all precincts reporting. The final unofficial tally is 90,345 votes for McSally and 88,267 votes for Barber.
No word yet from Giffords. Barber's camp released a statement that they are waiting for the early ballots to be counted and won't concede until then. There is no time stamp on their statement so I don't know if it was before or after McSally took a 2,000 vote lead.
UPDATE II: Even with more early and provisional ballots having been counted, Martha McSally still maintains a slight lead over Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ). It now stands at a 363 vote lead with McSally having won 98,918 votes and Barber 98,555. This reminds me in a way of when Al Franken first won over Norm Coleman in Minnesota. It was not declared over until enough votes had been found to put the Democrat in the lead.
The Tucson Daily Star reports that Barber has sent out a fundraising appeal for a recount. They report this is unusual because the state would pay for any recount. As it is, unless the margin drops to 200 votes, a recount is not ordered.
UPDATE III: Martha McSally maintains a 341 vote lead going into Monday. There are still reported to be 9,000 provisional ballots left to be counted in Pima County.
The McSally campaign has threatened a lawsuit to stop the counting of those ballots that don't have the required signature from an election official. Barber's campaign officials are calling this an effort "to disenfranchise" voters. I guess what the Barber folks really object to is having their ballot box stuffing called out.
I just hope that McSally isn't "Al Franken'ed" by Arizona election officials. The good news is that Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett is a Republican.