Photograph by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images.
Arizona voters in the state's 8th District head to the polls Tuesday to decide who will replace Gabby Giffords in the House, and microcosm spotters are doing their best to use the special election to provide a November forecast.
As CBS News notes, Giffords, a Democrat, represented a Republican-leaning district until leaving Congress in January in order to concentrate on her recovery from a shooting that left six people dead. She's backed her former aide Ron Barber (who was also shot in the 2011 rampage), who is running as a Democrat against Republican Jesse Kelly.
According to Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, Barber was up 53 percent to 41 percent with one day left in the campaign.
The Washington Post notes that the strategies for the Democrats and Republicans in the race mostly mirror their respective national strategies: Democrats are using Kelly's own remarks on the elimination of Social Security and Medicare against him in an aging district, while Republicans are trying to tie Barber to the unpopularity of his national "brand," i.e., the Obama White House, in order to turn voters away.
The two candidates' campaigns have been relatively civil, CBS notes, but Super PACs, as we've come to expect, have been a bit less gentle. The groups have spent more than $2 million on the election, which seems like an even bigger number when one takes into account that the 8th District is being redrawn based on the 2010 census, and whoever wins the special election will have to run again in November to represent the 2nd district, which will lean more Democratic.