U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ campaign declared victory over Republican challenger Jesse Kelly late Nov. 5 after expanding her lead to more than 3,600 in the latest count.
“Our victory was not an accident. We won because Democrats, Republicans and independents pulled together in our campaign to focus on the real solutions to the obstacles that we face,” Giffords said.
Kelly has also conceded the race.
“While we fell short here in District 8, Tuesday was a resounding victory for America,” Kelly said. “The citizens of this nation overwhelming chose limited government, fiscal sanity, and free market solutions.”
Kelly said voters in his district have spoken, and he respects their decision.
Giffords has captured 133,046 votes compared to Kelly’s 129,405, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
The contest had been one of the most hard-fought races in the country.
In the end, Giffords’ efficient machinery, money and message won the day for her.
Gifford had run an effective campaign, hammering at Kelly for his position on Social Security, Medicare and taxes. She sought to paint her opponent as too extreme for Southern Arizona.
And she had the money to push her message.
Giffords raised more than $3 million, the most of any congressional candidate.
Kelly, meanwhile, sought to portray Giffords as a big-government spender who is on the wrong side of a range of issues, criticizing the incumbent for supporting, among others, the federal health care legislation.
Kelly upended the political establishment in August when he won his party’s nomination over favorite Jonathan Paton, a former state senator.
He also raised enough money to mount an aggressive campaign. Kelly pooled in $1.3 million in this election cycle.
The momentum appeared to favor Kelly.
But Giffords mostly succeeded in putting Kelly on the defensive throughout the campaign.
She sought to portray Kelly as too extreme for the district, a narrative she stuck to since Day One.