The week at a glance...United States

United States

Phoenix

Barber wins: Democrat Ron Barber, a former aide to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, last week won a full term representing Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District. Barber, 67, narrowly defeated Republican Martha McSally, giving his party a sweep of the state’s three competitive races for House seats. Barber was shot twice during a meet-and-greet with Giffords’s constituents in January 2011. Six people were killed and 13 others wounded, including Giffords, who was struck in the head. After she resigned, Barber won a special election in June, in what was then Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, to take over Giffords’s seat. “I never expected to be in Congress,” Barber said. “Now I have two years to get some work done, and I really understand what the issues are.”

Midland, Texas

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Wounded vets killed: Four servicemen were killed and 16 others injured last week when a freight train traveling 62 mph broadsided a parade float at an event honoring wounded veterans. The crash occurred at a railroad crossing in West Texas, when a truck pulling a float with 12 servicemen, their wives, and civilians attempted to cross the tracks, despite warning lights and bells, according to safety officials. Investigators said data and video from the train show that 20 seconds before impact, warning lights and bells began to alert drivers. Witnesses reported that one of the crossing arms came down and hit the parade float as it attempted to cross the tracks. The truck driver is “severely traumatized,” his attorney said. “It’s a very tragic event that words can’t describe,” said Midland Police Chief Price Robinson.

Des Moines, Iowa

Rubio in 2016? Only two weeks after the election, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is looking like a 2016 presidential candidate, political observers said this week. Rubio visited Iowa, the first caucus state, just days before the publication of his in-depth profile in GQ magazine, which contained his carefully worded answer to a question about the age of the earth. “I’m not a scientist, man,” Rubio said. “I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians.” He went on to say that “parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says.” Rubio’s answer was crafted to avoid offending creationists, part of the GOP base who believe the earth is only 5,000 to 10,000 years old. A Rubio aide said speculation about a presidential bid is “laughably premature.”

Chicago

Jackson Jr. resigns: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who is facing a federal investigation into misuse of campaign funds, announced this week that he will resign from Congress, citing health reasons. Jackson vanished from his office in June for treatment of what he said is bipolar disorder. He said in his formal resignation letter that he’s made “my share of mistakes,’’ and that he plans to cooperate with investigators and continue with his treatment. He said his constituents “deserve a full-time legislator.’’ The South Side Democrat did not campaign, but easily won re-election on Nov. 6 to another two-year term in the House. Jackson, the son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, is the target of an ongoing federal investigation into alleged misuse of campaign funds and also faces a House Ethics Committee probe into alleged misconduct in his bid to gain the Senate seat that had been held by President Barack Obama.

Charlotte, N.C.

Broadwell returns home: Paula Broadwell, whose affair with CIA Director David Petraeus led to his resignation, returned to her home this week with her husband and two children. Appearing in public for the first time since the scandal broke, Broadwell and her husband, Scott, carried their two young sons into their home in the upscale Dilworth neighborhood, but refused to answer reporters’ questions. Broadwell’s anonymous, menacing emails to socialite Jill Kelley, her perceived rival for Petraeus’s affections, started the FBI investigation that led to Petraeus’s downfall. A friend of Kelley’s said that in her emails, Broadwell warned that she had powerful friends and could make Kelley “go away,’’ leading her to fear for her life. A friend of Broadwell’s said she is devastated, and “deeply regrets the damage that’s been done to her family.’’

Miami

West concedes: Rep. Allen West, a feisty Tea Party favorite and a high-profile member of the GOP’s class of 2010, grudgingly conceded to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy this week, ending one of the most closely watched and expensive races in the country. “While there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results,” West said, “our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted, or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election.” West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, was considered one of the most extreme members of Congress. He accused 80 Democratic congressmen of being communists and called Obama supporters “a threat to the gene pool.” With his defeat, Republicans now hold a 234–200 advantage in the House, with one race yet to be settled. Murphy, a construction executive who is new to politics, said he was “humbled” by his victory.

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