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Crossing the Aisle

Barber rolls out more than 100 endorsements from Republicans supporting his reelection effort

Less than 48 hours after the polls closed, U.S. Rep. Ron Barber rolled out this year's version of Republicans for Barber, a group of more than 100 Republicans who said they were crossing party lines to support the incumbent congressman in his reelection effort against Republican Martha McSally.

The group includes many of the same Republicans who supported Barber in his previous campaigns, including former Tucson mayor Bob Walkup, former state lawmaker Pete Hershberger, former Oro Valley mayor Paul Loomis, former Sierra Vista mayor Bob Strain, Sahuarita Town Council member Lynne Skelton and local developer John Wesley Miller.

Loomis said that while he was on the Oro Valley Town Council, he worked with former U.S. representatives Jim Kolbe and Gabby Giffords as well as Barber.

"They were always there when we needed them," Loomis said. "One of the things about Congressman Barber is that he's not a one-subject individual. He looks at everything reasonably and looks at all sides of the issues. He works for everybody."

Geoff Oldfather, the communications manager for Arizona's G&T Cooperatives utility company, said he was supporting Barber because the congressman interceded on behalf of the Cochise County company when the EPA wanted to require new emission standards that would have cost the company millions of dollars. Two years later, according to Oldfather, the utility is close to a solution that "is going to let us continue to operate. We are actually going to have emission levels that are better than what the EPA wanted and we have Congressman Barber in our corner to thank for the opportunity to get that solution going."

"Congressman Barber is someone who is a pragmatist," Oldfather added. "He is a realist. He's compassionate, he's honest, he's ethical, and he's always going to try to find the solution that's best for everybody in his district. He's not an ideologue."

Also crossing party lines to support Barber: Tom Norris, a retired A-10 pilot who flew alongside McSally.

"I had the opportunity to work with Rep. Barber and his very capable staff over the past year on efforts to save the A-10 aircraft from divestment," Norris said. "I am very impressed by Rep. Barber's passion and efforts to build a bipartisan coalition in the House of Representatives to save the A-10. I have been a registered Republican for 32 years and have always voted along party lines. Not this election—Rep. Barber is a true leader and gets my vote!"

Team McSally spokesman Patrick Ptak said via email that the group of Republicans supporting Barber shows that "Barber knows he's in trouble. That's why he's frantically trying to make Southern Arizonans forget all the times he did what was best for himself, not us, like when he voted against more funds to secure the border just to please his party."

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