CD8 Election: Full Circle for Gabrielle Giffords

CD8 Election: Full Circle for Gabrielle Giffords

CREATED Jun. 12, 2012

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- November 2010: A narrow win puts Gabrielle Giffords back in her CD8 seat -- beating her Republican challenger Jesse Kelly. Giffords told her supporters, "I am so honored and I'm deeply humbled of the people of the 8th congressional district during this incredibly tough year."

But no one could have imagined what lay  ahead for Giffords on January 8, 2011. An incredibily tragic event that changed her course and nearly took her life. Her determination to live on and move forward inspired a nation.

On the House floor, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi called her colleague:  "The brightest star among us -- the brightest star Congress has ever seen."

But on a YouTube video in January 2012, Giffords resigned -- knowing she faced a long and difficult recovery. Giffords told the online audience, "So to do what is better for Arizona, I will step down this week. I'm getting better."

Her decision left a vacant seat for the remainder of the term -- once again -- opening the door for a familiar foe in Jesse Kelly  and for a colleague and friend Ron Barber. The two candidates quickly reignited familiar debates.
 
As the election drew near in June, a similar scene developed as Kelly and Barber prepared for a tight race. Giffords returned to Tucson one week before the special election to help boost support for Barber as well as cast her vote and once again inspire an audience. Ruth Gurfaro, who was chaplin who met with Giffords' family at UMC and watched her walk into the her polling place, said, "It was a miracle. I was overjoyed because I had seen her before and the difference is tremendous."

June 12, 2012: Her vote in the CD8 election completes that final piece of the legacy she leaves behind. Her husband Mark Kelly told a crowd at the Rialto Theatre: "This is closure on Gabby's career in Congress."

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