News24

Shot US lawmaker's aide wins Arizona poll

2012-06-13 08:45

Los Angeles - Shot US lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords's former aide Ron Barber won a special election on Tuesday for her Arizona seat in Congress, according to official results with most votes counted.

With 86% of votes counted Barber, a Democrat like Giffords, had won 52% against 45% for Republican Jesse Kelly in the election in Arizona's 8th District, triggered by Giffords's decision to step down.

US media also called the election in Barber's favour.

A recent poll put Barber - who was wounded in the January 2011 shooting that nearly killed Giffords - 12 points ahead of the Republican challenger, but the lead was reported to have narrowed ahead of the vote.

Giffords stepped down in January to focus on her rehabilitation after being shot in the head in an attack which left six people dead, including a federal US judge and a member of the congresswoman's staff.

She campaigned with Barber at the weekend with her husband Mark Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut, who told several hundred supporters in Tucson, Arizona that Tuesday's special election would be packed with emotion.

The race in the conservative southern district was also being closely watched for indications of which way the nation is tilting five months ahead of the 6 November presidential poll.