Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ decision to step down from her congressional seat sets up a wide-open race to fill her spot in a conservative-leaning Arizona district that has a history of electing moderates from both parties. The congresswoman’s decision announced Sunday also will trigger not one but two entire election cycles before the end of the year, with different district lines in each thanks to congressional redistricting.
Gov. Jan Brewer will call a special primary election for some time in April and then a general election in June to fill Gifford’s seat in the 8th Congressional District in southeast Arizona. That will be followed by a regular primary in August and the November general election for the renumbered 2nd District that covers most of her current territory. Brewer, a Republican, doesn’t have any leeway on when or whether to hold the special election, and said Sunday that politics will not play a role in her selection of a date.
“I want to make it perfectly clear that all these time lines and the way that it goes and the way that it’s happening and the procedures are all in statures,” she said. “So we’re going to follow those to the line.”