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Gabrielle Giffords for Jon Kyl's Senate Seat? Don't Count Her Out

3 years ago
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In today's political climate, a Democrat must assume the chances of winning a Senate seat in Arizona are about the same as an ice cube lasting more than 30 seconds in the Grand Canyon State's famous 100-degree-plus summer heat. There's no doubt Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) has been well aware of that, but apparently, she's had her eye on Republican Sen. Jon Kyl's seat on the chance he would not run again in 2012.

Kyl has chosen not to run for re-election. Shortly after the news broke this week, political observers lamented that Giffords, who was shot in the head in a rampage that left six dead and 13 wounded at a January constituent gathering in Tucson, would not be able take advantage of the opportunity because of her injury. Plus, a Giffords victory would increase, from a sad 17, the number of women in the 100-seat Senate.

But with reports that Giffords' recovery has been amazing and is progressing at "lightning speed," have we written off her future political career too quickly?

Val Jones, M.D., a rehabilitation medicine specialist and CEO of Better Health, says, "In the end, the best-case scenario is that Giffords will have subtle enough deficits to be undetected by onlookers, but if she runs again, I'm sure she'll need extra support. I'd suspect that she'll need to lean on assistants for heavy mental work and may not have the intellectual stamina she had before ... [which] will make it difficult to keep up a grueling political pace in life."

Obviously, Giffords has an arduous road ahead of her. Some observers say she shouldn't even consider running for re-election to her current congressional seat, let alone make a bid for an even tougher Senate battle, calling such speculation about Giffords' future crass and an unrealistic "fairy tale scenario."

In another political time, I might agree on both counts. But in our world, where every moment is a campaign moment, it's fair to ponder the possibility, especially since Giffords has made more recovery progress than anyone imagined possible.

It's only been a little more than a month since the shooting and not only has Giffords opened her eyes, she is communicating, eating, moving, breathing on her own, and starting rehabilitation. As someone with a family member who suffered a traumatic brain injury not so long ago, I can tell you that to reach those milestones in a month is nothing short of miraculous, even if Giffords still has a marathon ahead of her.

If Giffords does reach the point where she is physically able to run another campaign, sources tell Politics Daily that some members of Giffords' congressional class have volunteered to raise funds on her behalf. The Democratic fundraising site ActBlue already has a page dedicated to Giffords' 2012 House race. And it's clear that she has the moral support of her two heavy-hitter political friends, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who were at her bedside when she first opened her eyes after the shooting.

So is it crazy to dream of seeing "Giffords for Senate in 2012" bumper stickers on cars driving around Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson? Or perhaps they'd say something a little more cheery, like "Go, Gabby, Go!" In light of the strides Giffords has made, potential GOP contenders such as Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) and former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) shouldn't count out the congresswoman who has become the poster girl for beating the odds.

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94 Comments

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Louie

I am sure she will be re-elected to her House seat; I would speculate a 60% to 65% vote for her re-election to her House seat. If I lived in her congressional district, (whether I was a Democrat or Republican), I would think as a voter within her Congressional district that she has "earned" my vote; and a new term in Congress. Kinda like workers compentsation; she was shot working in her district in the scope of her employment at the time someone tried to murder her. Tough stuff to throw her under the bus; probably not good medicine for her recovery to get voted out of office.

February 13 2011 at 9:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jmm8254

The realistic prognosis of brain trauma is not an ongoing political career. I wish the best for Giffords.

February 13 2011 at 9:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Michael

One thing at a time, please. This isn't Hollywood.

February 13 2011 at 7:58 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
kryptkiker

I know that the Senate put up with Robert Byrd wetting his pants when he tried to make a speech, but this is beyond acceptable. This idea is political correctness carried much too far.

February 13 2011 at 7:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
kryptkiker

This idea is as low as politics can get.

February 13 2011 at 6:25 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
BAN FOUNDATION

Congresswoman Gifford is consciously with us, "Thank God". We lift her up to the heavens from wher cometh her help. God is alive and well and he takes care of his own. Congresswoman Gifford is one of God's angels wo will show his mighty power and healing mercies. Ther is a reason for her existence and her daily recovery, so let us take it to the Lord in more prayer. One day at a time like anything else. It makes sense to schedule her for the 2012 race for Jesus is in that race, and He alone can make it possible. If she doesn't prepare and Jesus sees it fit for her to continue she will not be ready. The five wise virgins were ready with their lamps trimmed. God bless you Gabby. I will continue to pray for you.

February 13 2011 at 6:11 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
SouthCounty

Well, perhaps a reporter will go into a grade school classroom and ask 8-9 year olds how they feel about this. Shame on the officials of that school, their parents (children's) and the news media for doing this type of reporting.

February 13 2011 at 6:04 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
topazlisa

I have all ready thought about this scenario. If Giffords could make a full to near-full recovery she's going to have an amazing amount of clout because of public sympathy. She is now a "known" name and her policies have been dissected in full. While a Democrat, she is definitely moderate and holds some conservative views. IF she can overcome her injury she will have name recognition, sympathy and will have been shown to be not unlike some of the Republicans in AZ, while still holding her constituents. She could become a very powerful force and one who is a moderate...something this country needs more of. And really where better to stop the polarization of Dems and Repubs than in one of the frontline states of unrest?

February 13 2011 at 4:51 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to topazlisa's comment
bwildeaz

As one of her constituents, couldn't have said it better!

February 14 2011 at 5:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
AncientRvr

Thank God that that dinosaur Kyl is stepping down.

February 13 2011 at 4:50 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Terry

I am not sure that I understand the comment, "a Giffords victory would increase, from a sad 17, the number of women in the 100-seat Senate."
Is is sad that there are as many as 17 women in the Senate? Or is it sad that there are only 17? Or is it sad that the voters weren't enlightened enough to vote other than a voting bloc dictates?

I personally don't care what sex any candidate is, as long as they are honest, have enough courage to vote their conscience, and have the good of the country at heart. I tire of folks who vote because a candidate belongs to a certain race, certain sex, certain ethnic group, a certain political group, etc.
I would prefer that a voter do his or her homework, learn about the candidates and then decide based on an informed choice.

I wish the best for Giffords and if she runs and the people of Arizona vote her in I am sure that she will serve the people well. And I don't think that is sad.

February 13 2011 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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