Voters in southern Arizona's 8th Congressional District last night chose Republican Jesse Kelly to face former Gabrielle Giffords aide Ron Barber in a special election to replace the wounded ex-congresswoman. Barber and Kelly will face off in June, but the two opponents have already started the war of words, with Barber saying Kelly has "the wrong priorities" for southern Arizona's middle class families and seniors. Kelly has proposed a 10% flat tax, and said last night that "I think a majority of the voters like our plans."
Kelly had about 38% of the vote and the margin was enough for the AP to declare him the winner in the race against three other GOP candidates. Kelly is a businessman and tea party favorite who nearly unseated Giffords in 2010. The winner of the June 12 special general election will hold the seat until Giffords' term expires at the end of 2012. The race for the full term for the renumbered District 2 kicks off with an August primary. Giffords had tapped Barber as her preferred replacement, and he drew strong financial support and no challengers in the Democratic primary.