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Barber raises big money going into primary

In an election to fill former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., congressional seat, Democratic candidate Ron Barber, middle, waves to supporters as he celebrates an election win with his wife Nancy Barber, left, and Giffords, right, at a post election event, Tuesday, June 12, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz. Gabrielle Giffords' former district director, in a special election for the seat Giffords left in January to focus on her recovery from a gunshot wound to her head during a gunman's shooting spree a year earlier.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, pool)

The frontrunners for the upcoming primary in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District appear to have little to worry about, if fundraising is any indication.

Democratic Congressman Ron Barber, who was elected in a June special election to fill the remainder of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ term, reported raising $288,000 in the July 1 to Aug. 8 pre-primary period. Barber has about $377,000 on hand, some of it left over from the $1.38 million he raised for his battle with Republican Jesse Kelly in the special election for Arizona’s old 8th Congressional District.

Barber’s campaign noted that he has raised nearly $2 million since he began his special election campaign in February.

“This latest fundraising report is yet another demonstration that southern Arizonans support Ron’s work in Congress and are investing in his reelection so that he can continue to fight for middle class families in this community,” campaign manager Jessica Schultz said in a press release.

Rep. Matt Heinz, Barber’s challenger in the Democratic primary, raised just $42,000 in the pre-primary period, bringing his fundraising total up to nearly $178,000. However, the two-term legislator was flat broke by the end of the period and his report with the Federal Election Commission actually showed his campaign to be nearly $1,100 in debt.

Heinz was one of several Democrats eying the Tucson-based congressional seat Giffords vacated so she could focus on her recovery from the January 2011 assassination attempt. All dropped out when Barber, Giffords’ former district director, entered the race. But when Barber announced his intention to run for a full term if he won the special election, Heinz decided to stay in the race, and has criticized Barber for voting with Republicans on border security issues and on a contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder.

On the Republican side, former U.S. Air Force pilot Martha McSally reported just $47,000 raised in the period with about $127,000 on hand. But her primary challenger, Mark Koskiniemi, an employee with the Pima County procurement department, did not file an FEC report, indicating he has not raised or spent more than $5,000.

McSally, the first female fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, finished second in the April primary for the special election, taking 24 percent of the vote to Kelly’s 37 percent.

Ron Barber

Period raised: $288,020
Period spent: $94,389
Total raised: $426,203
Total spent: $150,833
Cash on hand: $377,132

Matt Heinz

Period raised: $42,066
Period spent: $85,421
Total raised: $177,851
Total spent: $178,942
Cash on hand: -$1,090

Mark Koskiniemi

Martha McSally

Period raised: $47,028
Period spent: $50,173
Total raised: $427,312
Total spent: $301,617
Cash on hand: $127,430

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