But Giffords has the money to fight back, with a war chest of at least $2 million, compared with $500,000 from her nearest GOP competitor, Jonathan Paton. Paton dropped out of the state Senate to run against Giffords, and is among five Republicans fighting it out in the August 24 primary. They are all are amping up the rhetoric on immigration and health care, and have an interesting mix of strongly conservative and libertarian views.
Paton says he’s banking on Giffords’ left-ward shift since she started office – a trend that he says stems from her liberal years a state legislator. Paton thinks that Giffords’ re-election in 2006 made her too comfortable voting with the left.
“I don’t know why she’s doing what she’s doing, but the shift occurred when she thought she had a safe race [in 2006],” he said.