Republican Martha McSally is going through freshman orientation for new U.S. House members in Washington, D.C., this week, despite a growing margin favoring her opponent, Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Barber.
In fact, Barber said, he and McSally both attended a reception for new members this week.
She is one of seven attendees at the orientation who may not actually become members of Congress, the Washington Post reported. They are in races so close that the Committee on House Administration extended invitations to them despite the uncertainty.
As of Thursday evening, Barber had a 923-vote lead over McSally.
"Obviously, the election's still undecided," McSally spokesman Bruce Harvie said. She went to orientation, he added, "so when it's decided she can start working for Southern Arizonans from Day One."
The member-elect's travel and lodging is covered by a House fund for new member orientation, said Steve Dutton, spokesman for the House Administration Committee. However, if there are equipment expenses, those are later deducted from the member's budget.
Barber did not get an orientation when he took office in June. He had won a special election and had to learn on the fly, he said.
This week, House business has prevented Barber from attending most orientation events, he said between votes Thursday.
"I've been sending staff to almost all of the sessions," Barber said.
Meanwhile, his campaign came close Thursday to declaring victory in the race, pointing out in a written statement reasons why he's on a path to victory. Among those reasons, campaign manager Jessica Floyd said:
• "Since Election Day, each day has ended with Barber in a stronger position than when that day began."
• Ballots still remaining to be counted come from an area, Pima County, where Barber has won most of the votes counted to date.
Harvie, McSally's spokesman, said in an email: "This (is) coming from the same people that said they were up 14 points two weeks before the election. We are continuing to monitor the process and look forward to a favorable result."
"Obviously, the election's still undecided."
Bruce Harvie, McSally spokesman