Giffords' move sets free-for-all in Ariz. district - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Giffords' move sets free-for-all in Ariz. district

PHOENIX (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' decision to resign from Congress has set up a political free-for-all in her competitive southeastern Arizona district, with voters set to pick a temporary replacement and then a full-term representative in rapid succession.

As Giffords, critically injured in a mass shooting last year, steps out of the public eye to focus on rehabilitation efforts, her departure thrusts Tucson into the national spotlight.

Giffords, a three-term Democrat, was heavily favored to win election, so her decision to step down creates an opportunity for Republicans to pick up a seat in the House.

But holding onto Giffords' seat has sentimental as well as symbolic value for Democrats as the elections will come as the presidential race intensifies -- in a Red state that the Obama campaign is targeting.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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