Recovering Gabby Giffords Mentioned As Possible 2012 AZ Senate Candidate

gabrielle giffords

The National Journal reports today that in the wake of Senator John Kyl’s (R-AZ) retirement, political hot stove league chatter about possible replacements is in full swing.  Among those mentioned: Rep. Gabby Giffords (D), who was shot through the head at a constituency event in early January. 

A Giffords candidacy in 2012 seems unlikely, to say the least. Other possible Democratic candidates being mentioned include former Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and US Attorney Dennis Burke. 

Ordinarily, a Democratic campaign for the US Senate in Arizona would seem foredoomed.  With the exception of Dennis DeConcini, no Democrat has won a US Senate election in the state since 1962.  But the rise of the Tea Party has scrambled the underlying assumptions of political analysis. 

Last year’s US Senate race in Nevada is illustrative.  Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) was up for re-election and campaigning in a state with 14% unemployment and a collapsed (not collapsing) housing market.   Virtually every conservative Republican was beating him by 10 points in early polling.  But the Republicans didn’t nominate just any conservative Republican, they nominated Sharron Angle.  And Harry Reid was comfortably re-elected.

Democratic chances in Arizona ride largely on the hope that Arizona Republicans will nominate their version of Sharron Angle, thus putting the seat now held by Senator Kyl within reach.

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