Democrat Ron Barber is receiving bipartisan support as he campaigns in the special election to take over former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' seat.

Barber, the only Democrat on the ticket, has received support from several Republicans, including former Sierra Vista Mayor Bob Strain, Sahuarita Vice Mayor Lynne Skelton, and Cochise County rancher and veterinarian Gary A. Thrasher.

All three are Republicans who joined former Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup and Tucson Councilman Steve Kozachik in supporting Barber.

"As a retired Air Force officer, I appreciate Ron's record of looking out for our veterans," said Strain. "And as a Mayor in Cochise County, I appreciate Ron's focus on all the communities in our district. Ron cares about getting the details right because he cares about people, our military, water and local governments. That's a whole lot more important than party politics. Ron is the right person to represent this district because he knows the issues and the importance of serving the people."

Skelton has served on the Sahuarita Town Council since 1999.

"Ron Barber is someone you can really count on," said Skelton. "He made it his business to learn what Sahuarita's needs were, and he stayed in constant contact to look out for our town and its residents. I am proud to support him. He'll do a great job in Congress."

Barber, who served as Giffords' district director, said, "I've always approached work as a problem-solver rather than as a partisan politician. Those of us who live in Southern Arizona are very fortunate to have many wonderful communities, from Sahuarita to Sierra Vista, from Naco to Casas Adobes. When leaders like Dr. Thrasher, Mayor Strain or Mayor Skelton pick up the phone to call their representative in Congress, that person needs to listen carefully. That is the kind of Congressman I intend to be: someone who gets things done for Southern Arizona."

While Barber is the only Democrat running for the CD8 seat, there have been several Republicans enter the race.

According to a recent poll, Jesse Kelly appears to be the Republican frontrunner.

A Wenzel Strategies survey, paid for by Citizens United Political Victory Fund, shows Kelly is ahead of his nearest GOP primary challenger by close to 25 percentage points.

The recent poll shows Kelly leading with a 43 percent approval rating, while State Sen. Frank Antenori received 18 percent, and sports commentator Dave Sitton's 10 percent.

Of the 700 surveyed, 20 percent are still unsure.

Citizens United has officially endorsed Kelly.

"Arizona needs Jesse Kelly, a combat veteran and a proven leader, to be the nominee," said Citizens United President David Bossie. "The results released today prove his message of lower taxes, a strong economy, and more jobs are resonating with Republican primary voters in Arizona's 8th Congressional District."

Kelly ran against Giffords in the 2010 elections, losing by a small margin.

Besides Antenori and Sitton, Kelly also faces John Lervold and Marth McSally.

The primary is April 17.

(1) comment


Jesse Kelly, after losing to Gabby in the 2010 election, rather than stay in Arizona and try to make a difference, in a huff moved to Texas. He only returned once Gabby stepped down. If you really want to see what kind of "person" Jesse Kelly is all you have to do is to look at this taken directly from his website several days AFTER Gabby was shot at the Safeway

@RRowleyTucson on Twitter

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