GOP picks up last House race of 2014 elections, now hold largest majority since 1949

Martha McSally

Though the 2014 Midterm elections were more than six weeks ago and Republicans were assured an even stronger majority than in the last Congress, one closely-watched race was just decided today.

In Arizona’s 2nd District — a seat once held by Gabrielle Giffords (as AZ-08, due to redistricting) — Republican challenger Martha McSally eked out victory by fewer than 200 votes. McSally challenged Giffords’s former district director, Ron Barber, who was elected after the tragic shooting that left 14 injured and six dead in a supermarket parking lot where Congressman Giffords was holding a community meeting.

McSally is a retied U.S. Air Force Colonel and the first woman to fly in combat since the ban was lifted in 1991.

Roll Call reports:

Republican Martha McSally has officially defeated Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., after a protracted recount in the Tucson-based 2nd District reaffirmed her lead.

MsSally won the seat by 167 votes, picking up six votes after the recount, according to elections officials.

Barber conceded the race shortly after the official tally was released.

“Today I congratulated Martha McSally on her victory, and wished her well in serving Southern Arizonans,” Barber said in a statement. “This result is not the one we hoped for, but we take solace in having spoken out loud and clear for the principle that every legal vote should be counted.”

Including McSally’s victory, House Republicans picked up a net of 13 seats in the midterms, giving the conference a historic majority.

Arizona’s 2nd District has been reliably Democratic since 1949 — except during a 10-year streak between 2003 and 2013 when Republican Trent Franks represented the district. Giffords represented Arizona’s 8th District, which was created after the 2000 Census, from 2007 to 2012. Ron Barber represented the 8th District before he was redistricted into the 2nd District in 2013.

Republicans now have the largest House majority since 1949 — and they’re pretty much guaranteed a majority in some form or fashion until at least redistricting after the 2020 Census. Come January 2015, there will be 247 House Republicans and 188 House Democrats.

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