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Gabby Giffords still raising money for Barber campaign

While state officials put their stamp of approval on the results of the race between U.S. Rep. Ron Barber and Martha McSally on Monday, triggering an automatic recount, a Tuesday fundraising pitch sent in the name of Gabrielle Giffords points to continuing campaign moves from the incumbent Democrat.

In an email sent by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Giffords said that the Barber campaign needs money to "fight back."

"Ron can absolutely win this race once all the votes are counted, but his opponents are working to make sure that doesn't happen. Hundreds of voters are being silenced. Their ballots remain uncounted," the email read.

"We will use the funds raised to help ensure the accuracy and transparency of the recount process," said Kyle Quinn-Quesada, Barber's campaign manager, responding to questions about the email.

"We’re continuing to study the order issued by the court on Thanksgiving and the recount papers filed by the secretary of state yesterday and exploring our options" regarding the possibility of filing an election challenge, he said in an email.

McSally's camp has been quiet since shortly after the election, not responding to repeated inquiries.

Last week, a federal judge shot down a request by Barber to delay the canvass of the election results. The Democrat maintains that 133 ballots in the race were improperly rejected.

Attorneys for Barber filed a lawsuit in federal court last week, after having asked county and state officials the previous week to delay the canvass of the election and include more votes.

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"Ron's opponents will find any way they can to win, which means Ron's campaign needs the resources to fight back and challenge every trick they try to pull," Giffords said in the email.

The totals in CD 2 are 109,704 for the Republican challenger, and 109,543 for the Democratic incumbent. The election was certified by state officials Monday morning, setting in motion a recount because of the narrow margin.

After hearing 90 minutes of oral arguments last Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Cindy Jorgenson denied Barber's request to add the votes with a ruling released Thursday.

Writing that "the court is not unsympathetic to the plight of individual voters whose ballots may have been improperly rejected," Jorgenson said that Barber's attorneys didn't build a strong enough case to stop the election process and add more ballots to the count.

The judge, nominated in 2001 by President George W. Bush, said that Barber pointed to "no case where scattered election-procedure violations regarding a small number of voters was found to raise a constitutional violation warranting a federal court’s entry into the details of the administration of an election."

Barber's campaign said last week that they are "disappointed in the Court's decision" but "remain committed to ensuring that Southern Arizonans are able to trust the integrity of this election.

"We thank the voters who not only took the time to vote in this election, but who came forward to ask that their voices be heard," said Quinn-Quesada.

"We look forward to an open and transparent recount that will allow all Arizonans to have confidence in the final outcome of the election," he said in a news release.

The last recount at the state level was 2010, when Proposition 112, which would moved up the deadline to file petitions for citizens initiatives, trailed by 126 votes in the official canvass. The recount confirmed that the measure failed, though the margin increased to 192 votes.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett set a deadline of Dec. 16 for Pima and Cochise counties to complete a recount of the 219,000 ballots in the race.

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Cronkite News reporter Anastasia Reynolds contributed to this report.


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1 comment on this story

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Dec 5, 2014, 10:24 am
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When is Rep. Barber going to quit his War on Women?

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Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com

Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly planted a rosebush last December to remember the victims of the Jan. 8, 2011, assassination attempt that resulted in her resignation from Congress. Six were killed and 13 wounded in the shooting.