His opponent in Congressional District 2, Republican Martha McSally has yet to release an ad but reached “Young Gun” status with the National Republican Congressional Committee this week. That puts her in line to receive financial backing from the NRCC, although the organization has yet to buy any ad time for TV ads.
Republican Jonathan Paton also became a "Young Gun" this week. He is facing Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in CD1. Paton and McSally were among nine candidates across the country who achieved the ranking this week.
Barber TV ad
Barber’s TV ad features Fran Bartholomeaux, a registered nurse in Tucson, who tells the story of unexpected medical bills putting her at risk of losing her house.
“Somewhere you need some help,” she says. “Ron took on the mortgage company and I was able to keep my home. He was able to cut through the red tape with such efficiency.”
Barber helped Bartholomeaux while he was district director for former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He held that position from 2006 until she resigned in January 2012.
Barber has spoken frequently about his work to help people avoid foreclosures and has made it a priority since taking office after winning the June 12 special election to complete Giffords’ term in the old CD8.
Barber had several TV ads during the CD8 special election race against Republican Jesse Kelly but this is his in the CD2 race. He defeated state Rep. Matt Heinz by 64 percentage points in the Aug. 28 primary.
McSally and NRCC
McSally reached “Young Gun” status with the NRCC, which is achieved by reaching a series of benchmarks that include fundraising, creating a volunteer base and campaign team and creating a communications and get-out-the vote plan.
The NRCC touted McSally’s resume as a retired Air Force colonel who was the first woman fighter pilot to fly in combat, and first to command a fighter squadron in combat in United States history.
“Martha McSally is leading the pack as Republicans continue to send a loud and clear message that we will hold Democrats accountable for their unpopular partisan agenda,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Tex., in the news release.
The Young Guns program was created during the 2007-2008 election cycle by Reps. Eric Cantor, R-Va.; Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; and Paul Ryan, R-Wis. The initiative is designed to help elect candidates in open seats by helping them build strong campaigns.
Being a “Young Gun” means McSally is now eligible for support from the NRCC, said spokesman Daniel Scarpinato. But FEC records show that the organization has yet to spend any money on TV or radio ads or mailers.
A few weeks ago, NRCC executive director Guy Harrison said the $900,000 the organization has pledged to spend in CD1 to support Jonathon Paton is just a ‘down payment’ on what they’ll spend in Arizona. Paton also reached “Young Gun” status with the NRCC.
Speaking this week to the Democrats of Greater Tucson, Pima County Democrat chairman Jeff Rogers said neither the NRCC nor any of the major Republican PACs have reserved TV ad time in the CD2 race.
“It could be because we’ve whipped them so many times in a row that they are not going to come to play in that race,” Rogers said. “We’ll keep our fingers crossed. It’s getting down to crunch time to buy media.”
Since Republican Jim Kolbe retired in 2006 after 22 years in office, Democrats have won the past four elections in the old CD8. Giffords won in 2006, 2008 and 2010 and Barber won the special election this June to complete her term.
Barber and McSally face off in the Nov. 6 general election in the new CD2, which covers most of the same turf but has a more Democratic electorate than the old district. Early ballots go out on Oct. 11.
There have been no independent polls released publicly about this race, but both campaigns have sent out internal polls. Both show Barber leading, but by different margins.
Barber’s survey of 500 likely voters done in mid-July showed the Congressman up by 13 percentage points. McSally’s survey of 400 likely voters polled in early August showed her down by just 5 percentage points.
Stay tuned to the Pueblo Politics blog throughout 2012 for news, updates and information about Arizona politics. You can follow Arizona Daily Star reporters Brady McCombs, Becky Pallack and Tim Steller on Twitter.