Out gay man to run for Gabby Giffords’ congressional seat


Out gay state Rep. Matt Heinz will run for the southern Arizona congressional seat vacated by fellow Democrat Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords resigned last week, saying she needs to concentrate on recovery from a brain injury she suffered in a January 2011 shooting spree in Tucson that left six people dead.

Heinz says he’ll run this spring in a special election to pick an interim replacement for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.

A staff physician at Tucson Medical Center, Heinz currently represents Tucson in the Arizona House of Representatives. He described himself to press as politically similar to Giffords.

“Moving forward I believe the best thing that we can do is to honor her strength, and conviction, and her leadership, by getting somebody, quickly, because we don’t have much time, into that seat who is going to carry forward in the tradition of moderate, bipartisan, common sense governance that she did so well for Southern Arizona,” Heinz said.

Another state legislator, Republican Sen. Frank Antenori, has also announced that he’ll run for Giffords’ seat. According to Arizona media outlets, other prospective candidates have indicated they’ll make a decision soon. If they decide to run, they have less than a month to gather signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Although Giffords is a Democrat, the district leans Republican.