Former Giffords Aide Raises $549,000 for House Seat

Pool Photo

Rep Gabrielle Giffords, right, tours the Gabrielle Giffords Family Assistance Center, one of her favorite charities, with her staffer Ron Barber, on Jan. 23, 2012, in Tucson.

Ron Barber, a longtime former aide to Arizona Democrat Gabrielle Giffords who’s seeking to succeed her in the U.S. House, raised $549,000 in less than two months with her help.

Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, each gave the maximum $5,000 contribution, according to a filing Barber’s campaign made with the Federal Election Commission today. Giffords’ campaign committee donated $4,000. Richard Carmona, a former U.S. Surgeon General and the likely Democratic nominee for the Senate seat of retiring Republican Jon Kyl, donated $500.

House Democratic leaders including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida backed Barber with donations from political committees they control.

Giffords resigned in January to concentrate on her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head 15 months ago. Barber was hurt in the same Tucson shooting. The winner of a special primary election on April 17 and a special general election on June 12 will serve the remainder of Giffords’ unexpired term. Barber is the only Democrat seeking the seat.

The Tucson-area district formerly held by Giffords is one of three vacant districts in the House, which Republicans control by a 242-190 margin. There are also vacancies in Democratic districts in Washington state and New Jersey.

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