Republican Jesse Kelly will not run for Arizona's new 2nd district seat this fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Military veteran Jesse Kelly (R) will not seek a rematch with Rep.-elect Ron Barber (D) in Arizona’s new 2nd district.
This clears the Republican field for retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally,who was preparing to run even as Kelly waged his special election campaign for ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D) vacated 8th district seat. Barber beat Kelly in Tuesday’s contest and will finish out Giffords’ term in the 112th Congress. Kelly also lost to Giffords in November of 2010. Giffords resigned earlier this year.
Kelly revealed his decision in a prepared statement. His move is likely to please the many Republicans who have argued that McSally has a better chance of beating Barber in the Democratic-leaning 2nd district.
“I would like to thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, my wife Aubrey, and our supporters for their unwavering commitment to the values that make America great,” he said. “Looking at the results from Tuesday, we have decided to withdraw from the race for Congress in AZ-02 and to seek other opportunities. I will forever be thankful to our generous supporters and volunteers.”