Former Rep. Ron Barber, Who Worked As Gabrielle Giffords' Aide, Won't Run For Congress In 2016

04/12/2015 06:24 pm ET | Updated Jun 13, 2015
Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

By Brad Poole

TUCSON, Ariz., April 12 (Reuters) - Former U.S. Representative Ron Barber, who was shot in 2011 alongside Gabrielle Giffords and later replaced her in Congress, will not run next year for the seat he lost in November.

Barber was Gifford's district director on Jan. 8, 2011, when a gunman opened fire at a grocery store meet-and-greet with constituents. Six people died in the shooting, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.

"Our grandchildren are growing up, and for Nancy and me, these years are precious," Barber said in an emailed statement. "We'll stay in Tucson where I can ... still work on the issues that are important to Southern Arizona, like protecting Social Security and fixing our broken immigration system."

He was not available for comment Sunday afternoon.

Giffords was shot through the head and has since founded the non-profit Americans for Responsible Solutions to seek ways to reduce gun violence. Barber, 69, was shot in the face and leg.

Jared Loughner, a former community college student who was then 23, was sentenced to life in prison after the shooting.

Barber has faced three elections since 2012 to represent the sprawling, mostly rural swath of borderlands stretching southwest to New Mexico. First he won a primary and a general election to replace Giffords in District 8, then just a few months later faced another primary and general election to represent the newly redrawn District 2.

Republican Martha McSally, one of the nation's first female combat pilots, won a narrow victory in November, sparking a lengthy recount that resulted in a lawsuit to halt the count. A judge ruled the count could continue, and McSally won by 167 votes out of roughly 220,000.

District 2 includes about half of Tucson, including Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and about 80 miles of Mexican border. (Reporting by Brad Poole in Tucson; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Eric Walsh)

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