On April 12, Gabby Giffords’s protégé and gun control supporter Ron Barber announced that he is not going to challenge pro-gun Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ-2) for her seat in 2016.
Arizona District 2 is Giffords’s former seat. Barber occupied it after Giffords was wounded in 2011, then won the seat outright in 2012. He lost to McSally in 2014, although Giffords and her gun control group—Americans for Responsible Solutions—spent lots of money and time campaigning for him.
Barber was expected to announce that he would rally for one more try against McSally, but instead, he threw in the towel.
According to Tucson News Now, Barber said:
After many conversations with my family, I’ve decided not to run for Congress in 2016. Serving Southern Arizona has been the highest honor and greatest privilege of my life. I send my deepest appreciation to everyone who worked so hard on our campaigns in 2012 and 2014. My time will be spent with family and friends and pursuing action on the issues that matter most to this community.
It is interesting to note that in 2012, Roll Call reported that Barber beat McSally by “about 2,500 votes.” In 2014, the vote shifted by 2,667, and McSally beat Barber by 167 votes in a race that focused heavily on Barber’s support for more gun control versus McSally’s support for the Second Amendment.
There were two crucial gun-related events between November 2012 and November 2014—one was the heinous attack on Sandy Hook Elementary and the second was the relentless gun control push that followed. Did that push—often encouraged by Gabby Giffords—reverberate to such a degree that it led to Barber’s defeat in 2014?
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.