October 1st, 2010
08:07 AM ET
12 years ago

CNN 100: Giffords in tough race in Arizona

ALT TEXTEditor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:

Arizona 08: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords defends her seat
Primary: August 24, 2010
Location: Tucson
Days until the election: 33

Rising Democratic star Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is defending her seat from in this Tucscon-based congressional district. Though voters in Arizona's eighth supported McCain in 2008, and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, Giffords' prowess as a candidate and deep roots in her district will likely be big factors if she is able to hold on to her seat. Both parties and political handicappers aren't letting this race out of their sights because the GOP candidate, Iraq vet Jesse Kelly, has a shot to wrest the seat from Giffords. It won't be easy, however.

A poll released at the beginning of September by a conservative advocacy organization showed the race deadlocked. As the final weeks of the election arrive, both candidates have saturated the airwaves with negative ads: Giffords is pounding Kelly on his position on social security, saying that he doesn't support medicare (a position that would likely be unpopular with the districts' larger number of older voters) – Kelly was forced to respond, defending his position. Overall, Giffords will likely continue to argue that Kelly's "extreme views" are "too risky" for the district, and Kelly will continue to try to paint Giffords as too liberal for the district's increasingly more conservative voters.

Kelly also has an attractive story to tell voters: a project manager at his family's construction business, he served in the Marines for four years, leading a unit in Iraq. He is telling a nationalized story, saying on his campaign website that he decided to run for congress, "the day President Obama signed the wasteful $787 billion stimulus package." One of the largest challenges he faces in the remaining days of the race is cash flow – he's raised half a million dollars but spent most of it, leaving less than $100,000 in the bank to face Giffords' war chest of over $1 million remaining to fight him off. He'll need some outside help from party committees to continue to respond to the barrage of attacks being lobbed at him.

Still, anti-incumbent, anti-Washington sentiment is most certainly affecting voters in Giffords' district, and she'll have to keep a steady barrage up until November.

Filed under: CNN 100
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. King

    The president job is to creat an enviroment so the corporatins hire workers. Two years ago during the economic disaster obama bailed out the corporations so they can put the american people back to work. After the corporations started making trillions they rejected the amdrican people by the backing of the repugs.

    October 1, 2010 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  2. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    The time to clean up both The House and 1/3 the Senate is upon us. Don't vote for the party! It is time the people sent a message to Washington DC we reject politics as usual.

    Fire All incumbents!

    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.
    This November tell Congress "You Are Fired!"

    Fire All Incumbents!

    On all levels of Government, I know everyone knows these federal and state fake representatives are crooks, but not my representative. Well I have news for you if your representative has been in and your taxes are going up, your state fees are going up and they were part of problem too.
    I do not care if you were the dog catcher if you are an incumbent welcome to the unemployment line with the rest of us.

    October 1, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. vesalius

    More proof the dems are in trouble in Nov, from all across the country. Hopefully more than a few career politicians from both sides and a lot of far left progressive democrats will lose!

    October 1, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |