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Former Giffords aide will run to fill her seat in Congress

February 09, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli

Reporting from Washington — A former aide to Gabrielle Giffords who was wounded in the shooting that nearly took her life announced his candidacy for a special election to replace the Arizona Democrat in Congress.

Ron Barber, who served as Giffords' district director, said he would work to continue her legacy of putting politics aside to solve problems.

"My commitment is to be honest with the people of this district and help restore civility to our public life," Barber said in a prepared statement announcing his candidacy. "My first priority won't be the next election -- but the next generation."

Giffords resigned from Congress on Jan. 25, just more than a year after a gunman shot her in the head at point-blank range as she met with constituents at a Tucson supermarket. She said she wanted to focus solely on her recovery.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has called for a special primary election to be held April 17, with the general election to follow June 12 to fill the 8th District seat.

The Republican field includes Jesse Kelly, who was Giffords' opponent in her bid for a third term in 2010.

Barber was shot twice -- in his cheek and leg -- during the Jan. 8 shooting rampage. He relies on a cane and leg brace to walk, and was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Barber told reporters in a conference call that he had not decided whether he would also run in the regular election in November in the newly-drawn 2nd District seat, crafted after the decennial redistricting process.

Giffords submitted her resignation last month during an emotional ceremony on the House floor, one day after she attended the State of the Union address.

One of her final acts was voting on legislation she wrote to give law enforcement greater authority to address the transport of illegal drug trade using light aircraft across the U.S.-Mexico border. Giffords will attend a bill-signing ceremony planned in the Oval Office on Friday, according to the White House.

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