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Sunday
Nov182012

Ron Barber, Former Gabrielle Giffords Aide, Wins Seat in Congress After Close Race

Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Democrat Ron Barber, former aide to Gabrielle Giffords, was declared the winner today of a tight congressional race in Southern Arizona.

Saturday morning, Barber’s opponent, Republican Martha McSally, called him and conceded the race, a spokesperson for the Democrat told ABCNews.com.

The hard-fought battle played out in a newly redrawn district in Southern Arizona that covers parts of Tucson and Pima County and all of Cochise County.

McSally, a retired Air Force colonel and the first female to fly in combat, ran on issues that included cutting taxes, reducing federal regulation and the sanctity of life. Barber touted his Southern Arizona roots to voters and his pledge to help strengthen the middle class.

In June, Barber won a special election in what was then Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, to take over Gabrielle Giffords’ seat following her resignation.

Barber, who is a  67-year-old grandfather, was shot in the thigh and cheek during a meet-and-greet with constituents of Giffords in January of 2011.  Six people were killed, while 13 others, including Giffords, who was hit in the head, were wounded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio