The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords FILE (AP Photo/Giffords Campaign - P.K. Weis) Rep. Gabrielle Giffords FILE (AP Photo/Giffords Campaign - P.K. Weis)  

Arizona Democrats ‘furious’ at special-ed teacher considering a run against Giffords

Anthony Prowell teaches at Liberty Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona. Until recently, he’s dedicated most of his time to educating special needs students. These days, he’s become a local villain for his candidacy to represent Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.

Prowell tells The Daily Caller that he intends to run for the seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords because “so many people that you talk to now say that there’s nobody representing the average working person.”

Initially looking to run for office as a Democrat, Prowell has been subjected to the ire of local party officials and everyday citizens aghast that he would challenge Giffords, who has only cast one congressional vote since a near-fatal shooting in January.

The few local Democratic Party officials he has spoken with on the phone are “livid” and have “flat out said, ‘we already have a congresswoman and I will not support you in any means whatsoever’” before hanging up, Prowell said.

“They’re furious that I’m even considering running after what happened to her,” he said. Most phone calls that Prowell makes do not get past the front desk of party organizations.

Prowell hypothesized that he has been given a cold shoulder because “they’re afraid to make Giffords mad.”

To qualify for the primary ballot, candidates need more than 700 signatures, Prowell said. He added that finding 700 Democrats to willing to sign would be difficult.

Arizona law requires that congressional candidates “must submit signatures equal to at least one half of one per cent of the qualified registered voters, but not more than 10 per cent of the total voter registration of the candidate’s party in the congressional district.”

“The Republicans, except for [State Senator] Frank Antenori, won’t run anyone against her, because they’re going to be the bad guy, they’re going to be the villain,” Prowell explained. (RELATED: 1st potential candidate for Giffords seat emerges)

Prowell said that he is concerned that Giffords’ injuries have made her unable to effectively serve her constituents.

“It doesn’t just worry me,” Prowell said. “If you listen to the radio shows in town, the editorials coming in to the papers, they feel a tremendous amount of sympathy, but are saying she can’t do her job like she used to.”

As soon as criticism of Giffords’ job performance surfaces, the attacks flood in, Prowell said. The typical reactions: “How dare you say she’s not fit for service? She got shot, she almost got killed as a congresswoman.”

Prowell said that the district needs someone “to say this is what the working people are going through,” citing the negative impact of the economic downturn on unemployed workers.

“Boehner is fighting to allow people with private jets to keep their tax breaks,” Prowell said. “People don’t know what it’s like to drive around with horrible tires because people don’t have $700 to buy new ones.”

Earlier this summer, Prowell contacted Giffords’ office to inform them of his candidacy. “I told her office that I’m going to run. I wanted to give them a heads-up,” Prowell said. “I didn’t want to step on any toes.”

Prowell asked when Giffords would make a decision on whether she would run for re-election. “They said she was ‘at least ten months away from deciding,’” he recalled.

In the event that Giffords decided against a run, Prowell fears that the seat “would go to whoever the Republicans put up” because no Democrat would have time to prepare a campaign so close to the filing deadline. Prowell added that Democrats are encountering the same issue with the Arizona Senate race as “nobody is jumping in because they don’t know if she’s going to run.”

Faced with an unflattering reception by the district’s Democrats, Prowell said that he is meeting with local Green Party officials and considering using that party’s ballot line in 2012. A September meeting of the Green Party steering committee will determine whether Prowell is green-lighted to run under the party’s name.

“If I was a Green candidate, even if they want to say I’m from a fringe party, they have to pay attention because I have ballot access,” Prowell said.

But he concedes, “my wife said, ‘why don’t you call the Democrats one last time?’”

  • Kylie

    I came on ready to be outraged by his choice to run against her. If she has served her Disrtrict admirably why would their be a question of her fitness. But he makes a compelling point regarding the election calendar. It is always a hand me to Republicans if she is not more conclusive about her choice.

  • Pingback: The Gabby Giffords firewall « The Future American

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YYOUP43UPSXSCOW67MZLKGMLR4 Arcanobacter

    PROGRESSIVE = IN FAVOR OF PROGRESS

    REPUBLICANT = CANT FIND IT WITH BOTH HANDS AND A MIRROR

  • Anonymous

    The Democratic officials in Giffords’ district can go on playing this “How dare anyone challenge her now?” game all they want, but wait until she has to run again in the general election. The voters aren’t going to feel a need to give Giffords a sympathy vote, especially considering how she’s been unable to fulfill her duties, and a Republican will almost surely replace her.

  • Anonymous

    The Democratic officials in Giffords’ district can go on playing this “How dare anyone challenge her now?” game all they want, but wait until she has to run again in the general election. The voters aren’t going to feel a need to give Giffords a sympathy vote, especially considering how she’s been unable to fulfill her duties, and a Republican will almost surely replace her.

  • Robert

    Ask her if she thinks Guam will capsize.  If she answers in the affermative then she is as qualified as Hank Johnson.

  • pansycritter

    The new Democrat victim. She isn’t black so the race card wouldn’t work. So they will keep  her so they can use her as a victim and keep the seat. Anyone that opposes her will be painted as evil because she was nearly killed in the line of duty. Pretty sad just how low democrats will go.

  • Rand3350

    Emotion vs. reality. There isn’t anyone (sane) in America that doesn’t hope that Gabby Giffords totally recovers and has her life back to normal. However, I lived in her district for 16 years and it needs active, responsible representation. I’d say that within 1 year of the election Rep Giffords, her husband and her doctors need to have a full evaluation of what capacity she can expect to fulfill her arduous duties. A true patriot would not run if she thought she couldn’t fulfill her duties. I suspect the national Dems will “prop her up” just like the GOP did Sen Thurmond and the Dems did Sen Robert Byrd. Both of them were well past their “use by date”. The district is evenly matched and will be a fair contest between any Dem and any Rep.

  • Anonymous

    While running against Giffords may be unpopular, it is certainly Prowell’s right to do so. This is what the political process is all about. I hope Giffords makes a complete recovery to the extent possible with her type of injury but her district does need someone who can fully represent them. I don’t if Prowell should be that person but it is true that if Giffords doesn’t make a decision until early next year on whether to run again, it would be difficult for another to plan a successful campaign.

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