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AZ Sen. Frank Antenori to run for Congressional District 8

AZ Sen. Frank Antenori to run for Congressional District 8

CREATED Jan 27, 2012

Reporter:  Jessica Chapin

GREEN VALLEY, Ariz. (KGUN9- TV) - He's the first official candidate running for former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords seat.  State Sen. Frank Antenori threw his hat in the ring at a Republican meeting Friday morning in Green Valley.  He plans to bring his principals of fiscal responsibility to Washington.

"We are in the black in the state of Arizona," said Antenori to the group, "We did some tough decisions.  Tough decisions that had to be made and get this state on the right path."

Antenori says he's prepared to make those same tough decisions on a national level.

"We have some serious problems," he said, "We have got to do at the Federal level what we did here in Arizona."

Antenori will run two races at the same time in a rare situation for congressional elections.  One special election will decide who takes Giffords' seat for the remainder of her term.  Antenori also announced his intentions to run for the new Congressional District 2 seat in November.  It was created during the redistricting process.

The candidate says he is prepared for the challenge of helping manage the nation's money, and the challenge of facing four elections in just one year.

"You need someone that has the ability to hit the ground running and move fast and assume the role of leadership," he said.

After a year of threatened government shutdowns over budget issues on federal and state levels, many find congressional gridlock to be the most frustrating part of the process.  But, Antenori says it's a threat he's not afraid of.

"There is and there have been numerous opportunities for bipartisanship and when those opportunities arise we'll work together.  When we need to work to make sure we have the best interest of the state or the best interest of the country at heart then sometimes there may not be bipartisan effort on that," he said, "I think that risk is there but if it means doing something that's not going to work, it may be worth a government shut down."

When it comes to the issues, Antenori says the nation's budget is a priority.  He also says he would be in favor of immigration reform.

"I do believe there needs to be some streamlining of the process," he said, "We want people from all over the world to come here legally to work hard and become successful and support this country, and I don't think anybody's against that."

Jesse Kelly has not formally announced his run for the congressional district 8, but he has filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission.  He ran against Giffords in 2010.

Special election primaries will be held on April 17.  General election for the seat will be June 12.