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Multiple candidates announce bid for Giffords’ vacated seat

Candidates began lining up this week after Gov. Jan Brewer called for a special primary and general election to fill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ vacated seat.

In a Jan. 26 proclamation, Brewer said the special primary election is scheduled for April 17 with the general election on June 12.  State law calls for special elections to be held to fill the post of a U.S. Representative.

“The winner will complete the remainder of Congresswoman Giffords’ term,” Brewer said in a Jan. 22 statement.

Giffords’ term expires at the end of 2012 and candidates will be able to run for the seat in the 2nd Congressional District during the Nov. 6 general election.

The special election will occur in District 8 and the general election in November will be held in accordance with the recently approved congressional district lines. Congressional District 2 now includes parts of Giffords’ old district, including Catalina Foothills and Vail.

Since Giffords announced her resignation from Congress, candidates from both parties have been placing their bids to claim her seat.

State Sen. Frank Antenori formally announced his candidacy for the special election in the 8th Congressional District Friday. Antenori also confirmed his candidacy for Congressional District 2 in the general election.

“(I am) 110 percent going for Congressional District 2 in November,” said Antenori at the Republican Club in Green Valley, located 30 miles south of Tucson.

Antenori, a Republican from Vail, a town located between Benson and Tucson, serves as the representative of Legislative District 30, which includes East Tucson, Green Valley and Sierra Vista.

This will be Antenori’s second attempt to join the House of Representatives.

State Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, also announced his bid Tuesday.

Heinz is one of two openly gay state representatives in Arizona and was the first Democrat to announce a bid for Giffords’ seat. Heinz served two terms as a representative for Legislative District 29.

Dave Sitton, a UA sports broadcaster and Tucson businessman, announced his candidacy as a Republican Thursday. This will be Sitton’s first run for public office.

Republican Jesse Kelly, Giffords’ opponent during the 2010 general election, is expected to announce his candidacy Friday.

He submitted paperwork to the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 24.

The Tea Party has continued to back Kelly since his narrow loss in the 2010 election.

Under congressional rules, Clerk of the House Karen Haas will manage Giffords’ former office until a replacement is elected.

In a Jan. 26 statement, the Office of the Clerk said while Haas is in charge of Giffords’ office for the time being, her authority does not extend into voting representation.

The statement also said staff members of Congressional District 8 will remain on the House payroll while they continue constituent work.

In her Jan. 25 resignation letter, Giffords said she decided to step down from her post in order to focus on her recovery after being shot in the head while meeting with constituents in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011.

“I have more work to do on my recovery before I can again serve in elected office,” Giffords said in her letter to both House Speaker John Boehner and Brewer.

“If I can’t return, my district deserves to elect a U.S. Representative who can give 100 percent to the job now. “

Giffords was in her third term when she announced her resignation last week.

Broadcast journalism freshman and Tucson resident Lucas Machado said Giffords’ resignation was in her best interest as it has only been one year since the shooting in Tucson.

“She needs sometime to recover,” Machado said.


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