TUCSON, Ariz. — Ron Barber, the Democrat running to succeed ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, remains noncommittal on whether he would vote for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to lead his party after the November elections.
"That’s a decision that’s way off in the future, and I wouldn’t know the answer to that question until we know who the candidates are for Speaker," he said in an interview today. "I think it’s important to make decisions like that, or any decision, based upon what’s in front of you and what the facts are. I don’t know who will be up for Speaker in 2013, and I’ll reserve judgment on who I would vote for."
Republicans are making a concerted effort to tie Barber, a former aide to Giffords, to Pelosi in television advertising in the lead-up to the June 12 special election in Arizona's 8th district. Barber is locked in a competitive contest with Republican Jesse Kelly, and both parties and their allies are spending heavily.
Giffords made news just days before she was shot in January 2011 at a Safeway when she cast a symbolic vote against Pelosi in favor of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). Since the shootings, Pelosi has been a prominent figure in Giffords' recovery. Pelosi was recently a "special guest" at an EMILY's List event in April honoring Giffords.
Barber also discussed whether he plans to join the Blue Dogs, a coalition of moderate Democrats. Giffords was a member of the group during her time in Congress.
"I don’t know yet, but I certainly have a lot in common with them on fiscal constraints," he said. "Right now, I’m focused on winning on June 12."
Barber expressed certainty about one prospective assignment as a Congressman — joining the House Armed Services Committee.
"It's a very important committee to the district, with three military installations and 100,000 veterans," he said. "I want to the be there to make sure that we protect these economic drivers and the assets they are for the country. House Armed Services is definitely an assignment that I would hope to get."
Roll Call rates the special election as a Tossup.