Gabrielle Giffords launches Gabby PAC

September 4, 2012

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.


Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly.

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.

The formation of the PAC was first reported last week by Politico, but we now have details about who specifically will be involved and whom the PAC will support.

Giffords, a Blue Dog Democrat, is set to announce in a news release that the PAC will be co-chaired by a Democrat and a Republican: former Bill Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich and former Kentucky secretary of state and 2010 Senate candidate Trey Grayson (R).

However, the PAC will only support Democrats.

“Gabby PAC will only support candidates who are dedicated to working hard for commonsense, bipartisan solutions that strengthen our communities and our entire country," Giffords and Kelly said in a statement. "This commitment to public service over partisanship is what guided Gabby while she was serving the people of Arizona and will be the guiding principle of Gabby PAC.”

Grayson, notably, lost a 2010 primary to now-Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). After that, he resigned his office to accept the chairmanship at Harvard University's Institute of Politics. By chairing Giffords's PAC, Grayson is now effectively raising money for the other party.

In an interview with The Fix, Grayson assured that he remains a Republican and has both Mitt Romney and Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) bumper stickers on his car. But he is very good friends with Giffords.

"I still consider myself a very proud Republican. I run a bipartisan institution that encourages activity in both parties," Grayson said. He added: "I’d love to run again some day. If I do it, I’m obviously going to do it as a Republican. It would be nice if there were some Democrats from Gabby PAC that I could work with."

Grayson also quipped: "I’m not the player to be named later in the Artur Davis trade."

(Davis, a former Democratic congressman who switched parties and spoke at the GOP convention last week, was recently a fellow at Grayson's institute.)

A political action committee can be used to contribute money to candidates and for travel and expenses related to political activities.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Aaron Blake | September 4, 2012