Candidates, Parties Step Up Ad Activity in Giffords’s Arizona District

Photograph by Joshua Lott/The New York Times via Redux

A supporter of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords before a debate at the University of Arizona in Tucson on Oct. 18, 2010.

The television ad wars are intensifying in a special U.S. House election to fill the Arizona seat formerly held by Democrat Gabrielle Giffords.

Democrat Ron Barber, Republican Jesse Kelly and the two U.S. House campaign committees all aired new ads in the Tucson-centered 8th District last weekend, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising. The stepped-up activity points to the competitiveness of the June 12 election.

Barber’s ad says he will protect Medicare. “We’ve got to balance the budget, but not on the backs of seniors and the middle class,” he says. Kelly, who almost unseated Giffords in the 2010 election, touts his background in the Marines and says Congress needs to target “out of control spending from Washington.”

Ads from the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are harder-hitting.

The NRCC’s ad says Barber would have voted for the 2010 health-care overhaul and that “we can’t send Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi a rubber-stamp.” Pelosi is the House Minority Leader from California.

The DCCC spot says Kelly has expressed support for ending Social Security and Medicare and cutting taxes for high income-earners.

Giffords resigned in January to concentrate on her recovery from a serious gunshot wound in January 2011. Barber, a longtime Giffords aide, was wounded in that shooting.

Arizona’s 8th is one of three vacant seats in the 435-member House, which Republicans control by 242 to 190.

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