Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Two days after losing a special election for Congressional District 8, Jesse Kelly is dropping out of the fall race for the newly formed CD-2. He made the announcement early Thursday afternoon on his Facebook page.
This was Kelly's second run for the CD-8 seat- formerly held by Gabrielle Giffords. In his statement he says: "Looking at the results from Tuesday, we have decided to withdraw from the race for Congress in AZ-02 and to seek other opportunities. I will forever be thankful to our generous supporters and volunteers."
Jesse Kelly's exit certainly changes the race but even if he had stayed difference between CD-8 and the new CD-2 would have made the race far from a re-run of the election just finished.
Jesse Kelly failed to carry Congressional District 8 even though Republicans there have a strong majority in the number of registered voters.
But there will be new district lines for the November election and what will become the new District Two gives Republicans, Democrats and Independents almost equal shares of the voters up for grabs.
After an election night celebration, Ron Barber went to work gearing up offices in Tucson, Sierra Vista and DC.
He was Giffords' district director before she resigned. Now he's ready to renew the focus on concerns of veterans, border dwellers and other constituents.
Barber says, "I believe the only way you ever get reelected, or re-hired, as I prefer to call it, is when you do the job they sent you to do. If you don't do that job you shouldn't go back and I intend to do the job to my best ability and then they'll make a decision based on that."
State Representative Doctor Matt Heinz stopped campaigning for District 8 to help Ron Barber complete Gabrielle Giffords term. Now he's challenging Barber for the new District 2.
Heinz points out his record of passing bills through the state legislature, even though as a Democrat, he faced extra challenges in a State House when Republicans dominate with a super majority.
He mentions Giffords' predecessor, Jim Kolbe was the area's Congressman for 22 years and suggests he, Matt Heinz, is the best choice for the long haul.
"This is a choice to figure out who the best advocate for Southern Arizona will be for possibly a decade or more."
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: "But does that imply that Ron Barber's too old to stay on for that long?"
Heinz: Not at all. No. I just want Southern Arizona voters to have this open discussion about who best is qualified to take us into this next decade."
Heinz says no one has pressured him to drop out of the race and give Barber an unopposed primary.
Retired Air Force Colonel Martha Mc Sally came in a strong second to Jesse Kelly in the Republican primary for District 8. She understands the boundaries for District 2 give Republicans a much smaller edge in registered voters than they had in the old district.
Like Barber and Heinz she's willing to cross party lines to get things done.
"There's a huge divisiveness in Washington DC. Part of the reason I really felt convicted to step up to run and serve my country again in a new way is because I feel very frustrated with it myself and this is about the future of our nation. This is about the future of America, the future of our community here in Southern Arizona so we have to be able to figure out how to solve these problems together even though we may have differences of philosophies."
We talked to McSally right before we knew Jesse Kelly had dropped out of the race. When we reached her campaign representative later, he said it's a big help to her campaign that she's basically unopposed in the primary. Actually there is someone else running for the Republican nomination. He's Mark Koskiniemi but he has not been very active at all.