Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) has not decided whether to run for reelection next year, but Democrats are laying the groundwork in case she decides to wage a bid for another term.
“Congresswoman Giffords is focused on her recovery. No decision has been made about 2012,” Giffords director of communications C.J. Karamargin told The Hill on Tuesday.
“We are making sure she doesn’t need to start from scratch when she makes that decision,” Wasserman Schultz said. “We’re certainly getting her ready to make sure she’s ready ... at the point they’re ready to decide on that.”
Giffords made her dramatic return to Capitol Hill on Monday night when she cast a vote on legislation to raise the debt ceiling. The return came after she was shot in the head in a January assassination attempt at a meet-and-greet event. Six people were killed in the incident.
Prior to the shooting, Giffords was said to be considering running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona.
While Giffords is still recovering, some Democrats in Arizona retain hope she could run for the state’s open Senate seat.
And among the many lawmakers greeting her Monday night was Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who is already in the Senate race.
“Just greeted Gabby Giffords on the House floor,” he tweeted shortly after the vote Monday evening. “ ‘Great to be here!’ she said. I couldn’t agree more.”
Giffords voted for the compromise legislation to raise the debt ceiling; Flake voted against it.
While Giffords has been recovering, her fellow Democrats have made sure she would have the money to campaign in 2012. More than two dozen House Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Wasserman Schultz have donated to her. Giffords has almost $800,000 in the bank for a reelection, and much of that amount was raised for her.
Wasserman Schultz, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) held a fundraiser for the congresswoman in March that had the backing of Democratic leadership. Former Democratic House members Allen Boyd, Bud Cramer and Charlie Wilson, all of whom were in the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition with Giffords, also gave.
Retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was asked Tuesday about the possibility Giffords might run for his seat. He declined to comment, saying “we should let her concentrate on her recovery.”
This article was originally published at 9:35 a.m. and updated at 7:46 p.m. Erik Wasson contributed.