On Dec. 17, Republican Martha McSally officially prevailed in Arizona's historically Democratic second Congressional District over incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D) following a lengthy recount that placed McSally ahead by fewer than 200 votes. Her victory means Republicans will have 247 seats in the House of Representatives next year—the largest majority the party has held since the 71st Congress adjourned in 1931.
The battle for the seat once held by Democratic Rep.Gabrielle Giffords was one of the most intense and costly of the 2104 midterm election. Giffords resigned her seat after she was seriously injured by an assailant in 2011. Barber, a Giffords top aide also injured in the incident, was elected to fill her term in a special election in 2012. In that election, Barber prevailed over McSally by a 2,500-vote margin.
Americans for Responsible Solutions, a super PAC advocating restrictive firearms legislation launched by Giffords and partially financed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, spent more than $2 million in support of Barber, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Election results announced Wednesday by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper—more than six weeks after the Nov. 4 election—showed McSally winning by 167 votes. A retired Air Force officer and the first female to fly in combat, the Election Day count showed her ahead by 161 votes, but an automatic recount was mandated because of the narrow margin.
McSally, a staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights, received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun organizations.
"Martha stood on principle and supported our constitutional freedoms, despite being relentlessly attacked by the gun control movement," said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA Political Victory Fund, in a statement. "Michael Bloomberg and national anti-gun groups were dealt a significant blow by Second Amendment supporters across the country on election day. A clear takeaway from these elections is that voters do not support Michael Bloomberg's extreme anti-gun agenda."