Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) is an outspoken opponent of SB1070, the Arizona immigration law. That’s an inconvenient thing to have on the books in a district where 70% of residents support the measure, especially when she’s up for re-election this cycle.
Giffords is rounding out her second term in office, and was re-elected in 2008 mostly by convincing the very centrist voters in Arizona’s eighth district that she was in line with their moderate political views. But her opposition to SB1070, combined with her “aye” votes on cap-and-trade and health care, blew her “moderate” label out of the water.
Perhaps sensing her vulnerability, Giffords has recently called for National Guard troops to be deployed to the border, but still maintains opposition to the state law. Giffords has also embarked on a very public letter-writing campaign to try and appease groups who are boycotting Arizona on the grounds that the law is racist.
The letter-writing may not accomplish anything, but it’s not a bad stunt for someone who has a reputation of being one of the nicest Members of Congress. Giffords is one of the youngest Members currently serving, and her marriage to astronaut Mark Kelly while in office was covered extensively by the New York Times and local media outlets.
In the advertisement, the Pelosi-puppet says "Gabby dear, I need your vote on government-run health care." Giffords’ puppet then says: "Whatever you say, mama Nancy." Pelosi says: "Gabby honey, you know I'm counting on you for cap and trade." Giffords responds: "Whatever you say, mama Nancy." Consultants have said the advertisement, put out by the Conservatives for Congress Committee in Tucson, is devastating.
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.
“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.