Posted by on February 01, 2012 in Blog

Two Arab American candidates could potentially run against each other for Gabrielle Giffords’s old congressional seat. Arizona State Representative Matt Heinz yesterday announced his candidacy for Arizona’s 8th congressional district, a seat which could potentially have six different candidates (three Republicans and three Democrats) running to occupy it. Heinz, who is Lebanese on his mother's side of the family, is the first Democrat to officially announce his candidacy. He is also one of two Arab American state legislators drawing attention about a possible run. Another Democrat, State Senator Paula Aboud who is also of Lebanese descent, has indicated that she is mulling over the possibility of running. If Aboud does decide to run, the race would pin two Arab American Democrats of Lebanese Descent against each other, the first time such a phenomenon has occurred in a race for an Arizona congressional seat.

In a short, preliminary statement introducing himself to his potential supporters and constituents, Heinz, a medical doctor by profession, sent the following message to his potential supporters and constituents: “I have been a proud community servant in both my medical and state legislative careers. I welcome the opportunity, if elected, to serve the state of Arizona in the United States Congress and I hope you will join me as we move forward,” he said. Yesterday, Heinz made the following comment about Gabrielle Giffords and said he had “been thinking a lot about how we can move forward and how we can best honor Gabby’s strength, conviction and leadership.”

The race for Giffords’s seat will be long and arduous. With Giffords’s departure before the end of her term in November, a special election will be held to see out the remainder of her term. The special election primary will be held on April 17 and the general election will be June 12. Candidates with ambitions toward a full term in office will have to run again in November. With redistricting poised to reshape the current bounds of Arizona’s 8th, candidates like Heinz, who announced he will run in both contests, will have to change their previous campaign strategy to appeal to new constituents. Needless to say, the race will require a lot of stamina and a full term in office will likely require a commitment to competing in four contests: two primary elections and two general elections.



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