CD 8 Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords just won re-election to a 3rd term. Here’s the elections breakdown of her past races with her Republican challengers in Pima County:
Gabrielle Giffords 55.20% 116,043
Randy Graf 41.09% 86,386
(14.11 percentage point difference)
Gabrielle Giffords 56.00% 151,556
Tim Bee 41.61% 112,612
(14.39 percentage point difference)
Gabrielle Giffords 49.93% 117,389
Jesse Kelly 46.08% 108,327
(3.85 percentage point difference)
Why was this 2010 race so close? Probably due to the rise of the Arizona Tea Party & Tucson Tea Party, the national economic crisis, the Republican Party anger over the passage of Federal Health Care legislation (aka “Obamacare”), the furor over the constitutionality of S.B. 1070 in Arizona, continued immigration problems at the border which includes CD 8, etc. And voters appeared tired of incumbents this year, who seemed responsible for the nation’s economic woes.
This was definitely 2 term incumbent Congresswoman Giffords’ toughest race, and she prevailed by only 4,156 votes out of a total of 283,978 votes cast in CD 8.
Her previous opponents in 2006 and 2008 were experienced politicians. Former LD 30 Rep. Randy Graf served 2 terms in the Arizona state house, and former State Senate President Tim Bee served 8 years in the Arizona State Senate, also from LD 30. So they were both somewhat well-known figures in LD 30, a part of Congressional District 8.
Then her third opponent was Jesse Kelly, a young Marine who had served in Iraq, with no political experience, yet he came the closest to winning. I heard Jesse speak at a number of forums, debates and events, and he had a dynamic, fresh personality that attracted voters, and he took advantage of the changing political times of this campaign year.
When I spoke with Randy Graf after the CD 8 debate at the University of Arizona Grand ballroom on October 18, he merely told me that in comparing his race in 2006 to the 2010 race, that “times have changed.” Indeed, it has. Read Randy’s review of that debate from his new online Arizona News-Telegraph by clicking here (from his PoliGRAF column).
Voter registration numbers in CD 8 from Pima County Recorder’s Office :
Democrats 114,523, Republicans 126,054, Libertarians 2499, Greens 719, independents 98,328.
The fact that CD 8 Libertarian candidate Steve Stoltz got 3.93% of the vote -11,174 votes) obviously shows that he drew votes from outside his party of only 2499 registered voters. Apparently Gabby got her 114,000 Democratic votes plus 24,000 other votes (likely the independents). Kelly got his 126,000 Republican votes but only 8,000 others. (But that’s only based on the assumption that all registered voters in CD 8 voted, and they didn’t.) Voter turnout was 55.65% statewide.
For a breakdown county by county in CD 8, check the Arizona Daily Star analysis this morning in their paper edition, page A5. They say that Kelly won in Cochise & Pinal Counties, with Giffords carrying Pima and Santa Cruz. Pima County voter turnout was 65.54%.
Regardless, attracting the “Independent voter” does matter in CD 8. Giffords said at her HQ volunteer appreciation party on November 6 that her win was due to a “broad based coalition” and her dedicated volunteers.
Wonder which Republican in Southern Arizona will challenge Congresswoman Giffords in 2012?