6 file for primary to fill Giffords' seat
Barber turns in 7,000 signatures
Four Republicans will appear on the April 17 primary ballot that will determine who will face off with one Democrat and one Green Party member in the June special election set to replace U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Candidates filed petitions Monday to secure their spots on the primary ballot.
While four will face of in the GOP primary, former Giffords staffer Ron Barber gathered over 7,.000 signatures on nominating petitions in his unopposed bid to be the Democratic candidate.
The Green Party's Charlie Manolakis turned in 13 signatures to earn a spot on his party's ballot.
Republicans turning in petitions were:
- Jesse Kelly, the Tea Party candidate who narrowly lost to Giffords in 2010: 2,107 signatures
- State Sen. Frank Antenori: 1,798 signatures
- Martha McSally, retired Air Force pilot: 1,505 signatures
- Dave Sitton, UA sports broadcaster and businessman: 1,317 signatures
To secure a ballot spot, GOP candidates needed 782 signatures. Democrats needed 671, and Greens needed 5 nominating signatures.
Two Republicans who filed with the Federal Election Commission didn't turn in petitions. Sierra Vista interrogation instructor John Lervold and Pima County procurement employee Mark Koskiniemi did not gather enough support to file.
Barber filed 7,110 signatures. He is running unopposed in the Democratic column after other contenders — including state Reps. Matt Heinz and Steve Farley — said they'd pull their candidacies in his favor in the special election.
Barber has yet to announce if he will run in the fall regular election cycle.
The primary is April 17, with early voting set to begin March 22. The special general election June 12 will fill the seat in Arizona's 8th Congressional District through next January.
Giffords resigned in January to focus on her recovery from the Jan. 8 shooting. Six were killed and 13 wounded, including the congresswoman and Barber, in what authorities charge was an assassination attempt against Giffords.
In the regular cycle, an August primary and November general will pick the representative for the new 2nd Congressional District, created by redistricting.