The Fix: Gabrielle Giffords

Mark Kelly: Arizona Democrats' dream candidate

Mark Kelly: Arizona Democrats' dream candidate

When Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded during an assassination attempt in January 2011, the future of the Arizona Democratic Party's statewide ambitions was put on hold.

Despite Democrats' argument that the state is shifting toward them politically, they still haven't been able to break through in offices other than the U.S. House. Today, Arizona Democrats hold not one statewide office.

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Gabrielle Giffords launches Gabby PAC

Gabrielle Giffords launches Gabby PAC

Updated at 3:01 p.m. with comment from Grayson.

Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and husband Mark Kelly are staying in the political game, launching a new political action committee.

Giffords, who survived a January 2011 assassination attempt that left her with years of rehabilitation ahead, resigned her seat earlier this year but left open the possibility of a return to politics. With the new PAC, dubbed “Gabby PAC,” she allows herself to continue to be a part of the process.

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Former Giffords aide Ron Barber wins special election for her seat

Democrat Ron Barber, a former aide to Gabrielle Giffords who was injured in the shooting that nearly took the ex-Arizona congresswoman’s life, won the special election to replace her on Tuesday.

With 66 percent of precincts reporting, Barber led Republican Jesse Kelly 53 percent to 45 percent. The AP has called the race for Barber.

The contest was the last congressional special election before November’s general election, leaving both sides to mine the results for clues about what might work in November and who might have momentum on their side.
From left, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Ron Barber and Mark Kelly, Giffords' husband, enter the polling place at St. Cyril's Catholic Church in Tucson, Ariz. Tuesday morning. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Tingle) (Tom Tingle - AP)

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The Gabby Giffords special election, and the limits of the sympathy vote

Voters will head to the polls Tuesday in southeastern Arizona to fill former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s (D-Ariz.) seat just more than 17 months after she survived an assassination attempt.


Gabrielle Giffords, right, hasn’t been much of an issue in the special election for her old seat. Her former district director, Ron Barber, left, is the Democratic nominee in that race. (Matt York/Reuters)
But while the outpouring of sympathy from that event dominated the news, it’s not expected to play a major role in Tuesday’s results.

Giffords’s Republican-leaning district looks to be neck and neck down the stretch, with neither side ready to predict victory. And both Democrats and Republicans agree that the shooting – in which Democratic nominee and former Giffords aide Ron Barber was also injured – has little to do with the ballots voters are casting.

“There is a group of people extremely dedicated to Gabby who will do anything for her,” said one Arizona Democratic strategist, granted anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic. “But I haven’t seen much evidence that the persuadable universe of folks Barber needs to win are going to be swayed by the shooting.”

Another Democratic strategist put it more bluntly: “Sympathy doesn’t win elections.”

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Ron Barber goes up with first ad in Giffords special election

Arizona Democratic special election candidate Ron Barber is up with his first ad of the race , a bio spot in which he talks about working with the disabled and running a business.

“I’m Ron Barber and I’ve seen a lot it my life,” Barber says while driving in a car in the ad, which was produced by Ralston Lapp Media. “I’ve seen what we need to do: Rebuild our middle class.”

Barber, who was unopposed for his party’s nomination on Tuesday, makes no mention of his ties to former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the ad, besides flashing some text on the screen pointing out that he served as her district director.

Barber was injured in the January 2011 shooting spree that left six people dead and Giffords wounded by a gun shot to the head.

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Jesse Kelly wins GOP nod for Giffords special election

Iraq veteran Jesse Kelly won the Republican nomination in the special election for former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s (D-Ariz.) seat on Tuesday and will face former Giffords aide Ron Barber (D) in the June 12 race.

Kelly, who fell to Giffords by about 4,000 votes in 2010, turned aside a field of opponents that included state Sen. Frank Antenori, broadcaster Dave Sitton and former Air Force pilot Martha McSally.

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How the GOP could steal Gabby Giffords’s seat

Is Gabrielle Giffords’s (D-Ariz.) former aide the odds-on favorite to claim her seat in the upcoming special election? Probably.

Is it a slam dunk? Hardly.

Voting begins in the special election today, with Republicans picking a nominee to face former Giffords aide Ron Barber (D) in the June 12 special election. And for a while now, the assumption has been that Barber would probably win the race — thanks in no small part to his close ties to Giffords. (For more on Barber, see former Fixer Felicia Sonmez’s profile from last week.)


Ron Barber, left, a former top aide to former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, right, is favored to win a special election for her seat. But he’s running in a Republican-leaning district. (AP)

But if the past several years have shown us anything, it’s that special elections are rarely predictable, often surprising and usually a big deal.

Arizona’s 8th district could be the latest to fit that mold.

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What will happen to Gabrielle Giffords’ seat?

What will happen to Gabrielle Giffords’ seat?

The decision by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) to resign from Congress means a special election will be held for her seat — a race that could well be quite competitive.

According to state law, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) must set a date for a special election primary 80 to 90 days after Giffords formally steps down, and a general election will be set for 50 to 60 days after the primary. So the primary election for Giffords seat will likely be held in late April with the general election in June.

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Gabby Giffords puts out audio message: ‘I’m getting stronger’

Gabby Giffords puts out audio message: ‘I’m getting stronger’

After months out of the spotlight, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) is going public.

Staffers have for months downplayed speculation about Giffords’ return to politics, saying it was too early in her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head the congresswoman suffered during an assassination attempt at at event in her southern Arizona congressional district.

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Gabrielle Giffords pledges return to Congress, some day

Gabrielle Giffords pledges return to Congress, some day

In her new memoir, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) vows that she will return to Capitol Hill, the Associated Press reports. The memoir, “Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope,” is set for release on Nov. 15th. It was ten months ago that Giffords was shot in the head by a gunman at a constituent event in Tucson, Ariz., during a shooting that left six people dead, including a member of the congresswoman’s staff.

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