"My vote is my vote, Mr. Kelly, as yours is to you," Barber said, the Arizona Daily Star reported. "And I will not be talking about other elections. I'm focused on beating you."
Barber's campaign later clarified and said he would vote for Obama, but that his focus in the House would be on advocacy for southern Arizona's residents.
"Ron’s point last night was that the election on June 12 isn't about president Obama, or any other national figure, it's about who is going to do the best job fighting for middle class families in southern Arizona," said Barber spokewoman Jessica Schultz. "While Ron does not agree with the President on everything, of course Ron has supported and will support President Obama in the election."
Barber and Kelly square off in a June 12 special election to finish Giffords’s term, which expires at the end of the year. The winner will have the incumbent advantage in the fall when a separate, regular election is held for the full term that starts in 2013.
The Hill rates this race a toss-up.
- This post was upated at 1:09 p.m.