Former Rep. Ron Barber will return to service as district director for the seat he once represented in Congress, starting in January, according to an announcement from 2nd District Rep.-elect Ann Kirkpatrick.
“I asked Ron if he would serve as District Director because no one knows Southern Arizona better than him,” the incoming congresswoman said in a statement. “There’s no one who loves Tucson and Cochise County more than Ron. He is one of my top advisors, and I’m thrilled that he and Nancy are willing to step back into the arena to serve the people of Southern Arizona.”
Barber previously served as district director for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords when she represented an earlier version of the district. He was at a Giffords constituent event in Tucson in January 2011, when a gunman opened fire, killing six people and injuring 13 others, including Barber and his boss. He was hit several times but recovered from his wounds and accepted Giffords’ challenge to run for her seat after she resigned a year later.
Barber won a June 2012 special election and then narrowly defeated Republican Martha McSally in the general that fall, winning by less than 1 point. He fell to McSally in a 2014 rematch, which he lost by 167 votes.
Kirkpatrick, 68, defeated Republican Lea Marquez Peterson by 8 points on Tuesday in the Tucson-anchored 2nd District. She previously served three terms representing the largely rural neighboring 1st District. She moved to the 2nd last year shortly before launching her campaign for the seat McSally vacated to run for Senate. (Kirkpatrick lost her own bid for the Senate two years ago.)
Alex Gangitano contributed to this report.
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