Little more than a year ago, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot and nearly killed at a political event in Tucson.
Over the weekend, Giffords announced that she would be resigning from Congress this week and not seeking re-election in November. For months, speculation had swirled as to whether she'd choose to make a bid to retain her seat. Ultimately, though, she decided she needed to focus on her recovery.
In a dramatic video posted to her YouTube channel, Giffords thanks her constituents for working with her on issues before and after she was shot — and for giving her time to heal.
"I'm getting better every day," she said in the video. "I have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for Arizona, I will step down this week."
According to reports, Giffords had wanted to remain politicaly active, but concluded that it was too much to ask of her constituents for them to give her another year to recover, when they elected her to serve them in Congress. Giffords, however, seemed to leave open the possibility that she might return to political life one day.
“I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country,” she said.
Giffords had been viewed as highly likely to win re-election in November, when Congressional redistricting will make the seat much more Democratic than it already is, The New York Times said.
But now, with the resignation, the race will be wide open. A primary will be held in about a month and then a general election about a month after that to select someone to hold the seat on a temporary basis, according to the Arizona Daily Star, Tucson's newspaper.
"Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Rogers also called it a surprise, saying it creates a 'kind of bizarre' situation since there will be a special primary and general election campaigns this spring, followed by the regular primary and general elections in the fall," the Daily Star wrote.
The person elected in that election will then be the front-runner for the November election, though the redistricting could certainly change matters. An endorsement from Giffords — though she's not said whether she will endorse anyone — will likely go a long way toward securing the election for any candidate.