RESULT: Gabrielle Giffords (D) 55% - Tim Bee (R) 43%
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ, defeated former state Senator Randy Graf in 2006. The race was frequently referenced in the national media as a gauge of voters’ feelings toward immigration. According to The Cook Report, “This is a district that is not comfortable at the extreme edge of any issue.” Giffords’ victory suggested that Americans were not as extreme in their anti-immigration viewpoints as Graf, an enforcement-only candidate. [Cook Report, accessed 8/18/08] The Republican running against Giffords in 2008, Tim Bee, “stayed out of his party's primary two years ago after 11-term Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe announced his retirement. He then rose to power in the state Senate.” [The Tucson Citizen, 8/18/08] The race between Giffords and Tim Bee is “one of the nation’s most watched congressional races,” according to the Arizona Daily Star. Republican Tim Bee has attacked Giffords on immigration, Iraq and energy. [Arizona Daily Star, 8/16/08] The 8th Congressional District includes all of Tucson except the west side [Almanac of American Politics, accessed 9/2/08], and is often considered to be “ground zero” in the immigration debate. In 2006, over 390,000 immigrants were arrested for crossing the border there.