The results of a recount in the nation’s last undecided congressional race from the midterm elections are set to be revealed Wednesday by an Arizona judge in a move that will determine the size of the GOP majority in Washington.
Republican challenger Martha McSally leads Democratic Rep. Ron Barber in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District by 161 votes, and the court hearing in Phoenix should settle the race after a recount and several court battles.
A victory by McSally would give House Republicans their largest majority in 83 years, holding 247 seats to Democrats’ 188.
Barber took office in 2012 after winning a special election to replace his former boss, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who stepped down after a 2011 shooting that wounded both her and Barber. Barber then won a full term in November 2012 after a narrow victory over McSally.
The tight races show the 2nd District remains one of the most competitive in the nation. Giffords had narrowly won her 2010 election race over a Republican.
The thin margin between the two candidates in last month’s general election triggered a mandatory recount under Arizona law. Barber failed in his legal efforts to get some rejected ballots counted.
If McSally ultimately prevails, it would give Republicans a 5-4 advantage in Arizona’s congressional delegation. Democrats currently hold a 5-4 edge.
Barber fought in several venues to get additional votes counted, but was turned away at every effort. He tried to get the Pima and Cochise county board of supervisors and the secretary of state to order rejected provisional and early ballots counted. When that failed, he turned to a federal judge to get the provisional ballots counted.
Separately, a group of voters tried to get the state Supreme Court to halt the recount because the state planned to use the same computer program it used in the regular ballot count. The high court dismissed the case, but said it could be re-filed in Superior Court.