Feb. 7, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Political Clock Ticks for Giffords

Tom Williams/Roll Call
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (seen above at a Tuesday hearing) hosted a fundraiser this week at her Capitol Hill home for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

“There are other Republicans interested in running, but until the new districts are drawn and Giffords makes a decision, I believe that everybody seems to be in a holding pattern,” said Adam Kwasman, Kelly’s former campaign manager, who just filed to run for a state House seat in Tucson.

Another Republican who multiple insiders said was looking at the race is state Sen. Frank Antenori, a conservative who lost in the 2006 8th district primary.

Giffords raised $358,000 in the first quarter, a number boosted by contributions from her colleagues. Several House Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (S.C.) and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla), donated the maximum $2,000 allowed per election for campaign-to-campaign contributions.

Udall headlined two mid-May fundraisers in Arizona, and DeLauro hosted a fundraiser at her Capitol Hill home Tuesday night. Smith, ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, headlined a defense industry breakfast Wednesday at the Capitol Hill restaurant Sonoma.

“I want to do all I can to support her recovery,” Udall said. He is a Tucson native, was born at the same hospital as Giffords and wears a rubber bracelet with a heart and peace sign in honor of the Arizona Congresswoman.

“Those of us who think she has a real role — if she would like to — serving in the Congress want to keep her options open. Part of keeping those options open is about making sure she has the money to run a strong campaign if she decides to run for re-election,” he said.

DeLauro said her fundraiser, a “women’s cocktail reception,” according to an invitation, was not out of the ordinary. “I did one for Gabby last year, too. Gabby’s a very close friend, and I wanted to help her out any way I can,” she said.

Republican insiders said Giffords would be tough to beat if she runs for re-election, but one Tucson Republican said she will likely need to at least make public appearances at some point so voters are assured she will be able to serve in the next Congress.

“As much sympathy as there is for her, they want to have a Representative,” he said. “If she’s not going to cast a vote in this Congress and it’s unclear if she can in the next Congress, people aren’t going to want to vote for that.”

Another Republican said Democrats would be wise to hold off on a Giffords announcement until late spring next year, so Republicans would get a late start on fundraising.

A Democratic source in Tucson said constituents in the district have been very understanding as Giffords recovers from her injury. “People are respectful and deferential,” the source said. “They understand we have a Member of Congress who was severely injured in the line of duty.”

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old suspect accused of shooting Giffords in a rampage that killed six people, is not mentally competent to stand trial.

Udall visited Giffords two weeks ago in Houston and said he is following the approach of her family, which is sharing her progress with the public while respecting her privacy.

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