Giffords, who won the CD8 seat last year by 12 percentage points over Republican Randy Graf, faces a more moderate Republican in Bee, who is completing his fourth term in the Legislature.
Giffords has now had two years to establish her credentials in the district. She’s made a point of working the political circuit back home when she’s not in Washington.
She’s also been one of the top freshman lawmakers when it comes to fundraising; at the end of March, Giffords had raised more than $1.9 million and still had $1.6 million in the bank—a significantly higher haul than Bee’s $752,000 (Bee still had $525K on hand at the end of the first quarter.)
But CD8 leans Republican and the GOP is determined to take it back. In Bee, they have a candidate who has never lost in an election in Southern Arizona.
Overall, both lawmakers have fairly moderate records, although they have their differences on plenty of issues, such as abortion, free trade and…well, we’re sure there are other areas where they disagree, even if both will do their best over the course of the campaign from taking too many stands that might possibly offend the moderate middle both will be targeting.
Voters can expect Giffords and Bee—who were schoolmates back in the day at Emily Gray Junior High—to remain civil to one another on the campaign trail.
But the candidates themselves will be overshadowed by the negative campaigns ginned up by the political parties and independent campaign committees. Between now and Election Day, look for Giffords to be painted as a leftist lackey of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while Bee is portrayed as a conservative clone of George W. Bush.
Congressional District 8 is home to roughly 156,000 Republicans, 140,200 Democrats, 2,300 Libertarians and 107,000 voters who aren’t registered with those parties.
Candidate Web sites
Democrat Gabrielle Giffords
Republican Tim Bee