(Updated with response from Ron Barber's campaign)
McSally is facing Democrat Ron Barber in Congressional District 2. Barber is seeking re-election in the new district after winning the June 12 special election to complete former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ term.
McSally’s first TV ad, which began airing earlier this month, featured a similar theme promoting McSally’s “pioneer spirit” and leadership traits. The ads go along with the central them of her campaign, which is that despite her political inexperience, she has the right skill set to be a successful U.S. Representative.
"Martha McSally knows no labels,” the narrator says in the new TV ad, with a picture of McSally at the apex of a snow-covered mountain. “She lives the independent spirit. She became the first woman to command. With our nation on the wrong path we need leaders like Martha McSally to challenge the establishment and reform Washington.”
McSally ends the ad by saying the country needs to unshackle the “American spirit” and reign in the debt and jump-start the economy.
During her 26-year career, McSally become the Air Force's first woman to fly in combat and first woman to command a fighter squadron in combat while at Davis-Monthan Air Force in Tucson. In 2001, she sued the Pentagon over its requirement that military women serving in Saudi Arabia wear abayas, or traditional black Muslim cloaks, off base. She said the practice was offensive to her as a Christian. She eventually won that suit.
"Martha McSally's ad has beautiful pictures of mountains. But what Southern Arizonans are concerned about is protecting our middle class and Medicare," said Barber's spokesman, Mark Prentice, in an emailed statement. "McSally confessed that she would have voted for Paul Ryan's plan that would gut Medicare. Ron won't do that. He will protect Medicare, and stand up for the middle class in Congress."
As the incumbent with the campaign money advantage, Barber is considered by pundits as the front-runner in this race. In addition to touting the work he’s done in his three months in Congress, he’s once again telling voters that his deep roots in the community and extensive knowledge of the district and its people make him the best candidate.
He has one TV ad up, which tells the story of the work he did as Giffords’ district director to help people avoid foreclosure.
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.