Congressional Candidate Ron Barber announced Monday that he will run for Congress in the regular 2012 election, in addition to the special election in June in which he is already a candidate in CD8.

Due to redistricting, the two elections are in slightly different districts, both of which are based in the Tucson Foothills, much of east and central Tucson, Green Valley and Cochise County.

“Talking with Southern Arizonans has been inspiring,” said Barber. “People across Pima and Cochise counties have urged me to run for Congress this fall, and have offered me their support and their encouragement. Southern Arizonans are concerned about the future, and worried about what kind of future will be there for their children. They want a Congress that is on their side, and focused on protecting the middle class that’s slowly disappearing. This nation cannot thrive without a thriving middle class.  I am going to Washington to fight for middle class families, veterans and seniors, and to continue our work to bring home the resources we need to control our Southern border.”

As an aide to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Barber said he never had any intention to run for public office. However, circumstances changed. After Giffords’ resignation, Barber has sought the Democratic seat to finish the remaining six months of her term.

However, Barber said given the problems this country faces, six months isn’t enough time to make a difference, and with his family’s blessing, he is planning to run for an additional two-year term.

Following Monday’s announcement, it didn’t take long for Giffords and husband Mark Kelly to post a statement backing Barber’s decision on Facebook.

Barber said he is confident in his chances in the June special election, and hopes to carry that into the regular election in CD2.

“I’m in it all the way,” he said. “I will present myself to voters on June 12, and I think I will be successful. Then, I will present myself again in the next election.”

In the special election, Barber, the lone Democrat in the race, is waiting to see who his Republican opponent will be.

Running in the April 17 primary are Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly, Martha McSally and Dave Sitton.

Barber is already a target for the GOP candidates, with Antentori saying he will probably run on the sympathy card in June. Barber was injured along with Giffords in the Jan. 8 shooting last year that injured 13, and killed six people.

Barber said Antenori doesn’t speak for him, and he’s not running for sympathy, but for the good of the constituents in CD8, and later in CD2.

“I’m running on my record as a public servant, and to solve problems across this nation,” he said. “I am not about sympathy, but about experience and I hope that’s what people see.”

While Marana and Oro Valley residents are eligible to vote in the special election for CD8, they won’t be voting in the race for CD2.

Redistricting has removed the northwest out of CD8, and into CD1.

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