On Tuesday, the Republican who will move forward to face Democrat Ron Barber in June’s General Election will be decided.
While Barber is running unopposed in the April 17 Primary Election, four candidates are running on the Republican ticket, including Arizona Sen. Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly, who was narrowly defeated by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2010, along with newcomers Martha McSally and Dave Sitton.
Antenori is running on the claim that he’s the only one with experience, touting his work to balance Arizona’s budget last year along with the rest of the Republican-led Legislature.
Kelly is running on the basis of being the best candidate, and knowing he came within a few thousand votes of being elected in 2010. Kelly remains confident he will be the ultimate nominee who will face Barber.
Sitton claims to be the best suited for the job since he’s been in Tucson for the last 38 years, serving as a businessman and radio personality.
McSally, a veteran along with Antenori, just wants change in Congress, and feels she’s the right woman for the job.
Overall, the four Republican candidates have similar views on the nation’s top issues, including wanting a repeal of President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan, which is currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A ruling of the plan, which has been dubbed “Obamacare,” is expected in June.
All four candidates believe there is a need for better border security, and all agree that the economy and creating jobs has to be a top priority moving forward.
However, it will all come down to whether or not they can defeat Barber, who has already received endorsements from both Democrats and Republicans, including Giffords who resigned from office in January.
Barber served as Rep. Giffords’ aide for her two terms in office, and has already announced he will seek the nomination once District 8 becomes Congressional District 2 under the state’s redistricting.
Barber also has an advantage, raising twice as much money as any Republican challenger in the special election to fill Giffords’ seat.
Federal Election Commission records show Barber had $463,704 on hand as of March 28, and reported spending $85,428 of his $549,123 total. With no opposition in the primary, Barber has an advantage over the Republican candidates, and will have more cash on hand for the General Election set for June.
Records show Sitton led the Republican candidates by raising $260,550, while Kelly raised $210,348. McSally, a retired Air Force pilot, reported $132,807.
Antenori had not filed a report as of midday Friday that was available through the FEC’s website, although it was due Thursday. Rules require electronic filing if a candidate either raises, spends or expects to raise or spend at least $50,000 in a year.
Penalties can be levied against candidates who do not meet federal filing requirements.
The special April election is required in Congressional District 8 after Giffords resigned in order to continue rehabilitation from a gunshot wound to the head on Jan. 8, 2011. Barber was also injured in the shooting.
After the General Election in June, the candidates will face another challenge in a brand new election. CD8 will become CD2, and a majority of residents in Oro Valley and Marana will not vote in the election because redistricting moved them into CD1, which extends north to Flagstaff.
Running in CD1 on the Republican ticket is Jonathan Paton, and on the Democratic ticket, Ann Kirkpatrick is actively campaigning.