GOP challenger Martha McSally became the newest member of Arizona's Congressional delegation this morning, when Secretary of State Ken Bennett's office confirmed that the automatic recount in #AZ02 had extended her lead to 167 votes over 1+ term incumbent Rep. Ron Barber.
McSally issued this statement:
“There’s no getting around that this was an incredibly close and hard-fought race. After what’s been a long campaign season, it’s time to come together and heal our community. That’s why my focus will be on what unites us, not what divides us, such as providing better economic opportunity for our families and ensuring our country and community are kept safe.”
“I sincerely thank Congressman Barber for his service over many years to Southern Arizona. I’ll be seeking his input to continue strong constituent services and help ensure a smooth transition. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I know that we’re a community dedicated and united in our love for Southern Arizona – And, together, we can make a positive difference.”Simultaneously, Barber issued a statement congratulating McSally and promising a "smooth transition." Here is the text of his statement:
"Today I congratulated Martha McSally on her victory, and wished her well in serving Southern Arizonans. This result is not the one we hoped for, but we take solace in having spoken out loud and clear for the principle that every legal vote should be counted. As in every election system, there are imperfections in ours, and we must work to correct them. When an election is as close as this one has been, we do our best to arrive at the correct result, and then accept it with respect for the voters.
"I love Southern Arizona and serving the people who live here was an unexpected honor. In 1967, I graduated from the U of A and married Nancy--I figured it couldn't get much better than that. Never in my life did I expect to serve in Congress. For me, the work was a joy to do every day, helping veterans get access to the benefits they earned, keeping middle class families from having their homes foreclosed, pushing the EPA into not closing the power plant in Cochise County that provides a good income to nearly 250 families. I still believe that we can be successful when people from both parties work together--that's how we stopped the Pentagon from mothballing the A-10 and increased funding for mental health services.
"There's a lot more work to do to solve the real challenges facing our country, and I will have plenty to say about them in the weeks to come.
"Today, I extend my gratitude to Southern Arizonans, and promise to carry out a smooth transition to my successor.“The final vote count was 109,714 for McSally, and 109,547 for Barber.
In the recount, Pima County - which had slightly favored Barber - found 20 more ballots that had not been counted on election night, according to Secretary of State Bennett. He also noted that Cochise County removed one ballot that had been counted on election night, although the reason is not immediately apparent.
Bennett boasted of the 99.997% accuracy rate, but said that even that leaves some room for improvement.
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