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Kelly files to run for Giffords’ seat

Jesse Kelly

Jesse Kelly, the Republican who narrowly lost to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2010, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission today to run for the seat she is vacating.

Spokesman John Ellinwood said Kelly will announce his political plans in the near future.

“There’s a very high likelihood that he’ll be running in the special election,” Ellinwood told the Arizona Capitol Times today.

Adam Kwasman, Kelly’s former campaign manager, also said on Monday that Kelly is “seriously considering” a run for the 8th Congressional District seat following Giffords’ announcement that she’ll resign after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

Kelly would be running to fill out the remainder of Giffords’ term and would have run separately for the new 2nd Congressional District seat that will replace CD8.

Before updating his candidacy paperwork today, Kelly had filed a statement of candidacy for the 2012 election cycle less than two months after losing to Giffords by less than 2 points in the 2010 election.

Kelly was earlier expected to announce his candidacy at a campaign event last January, but the event was canceled after the Jan. 8, 2011 assassination attempt against Giffords.

A year-end campaign finance report Kelly filed on Jan. 17 showed he raised just $400 last quarter and has about $19,000 cash on hand.

Other potential Republican candidates include Sen. Frank Antenori and Arizona Wildcats sportscaster Dave Sitton. Former Sen. Jonathan Paton, whom Kelly defeated in the 2010 GOP primary, is also considering another run in CD8, though he is also contemplating a run in the northern Arizona-based 1st Congressional District, which includes the northern Tucson suburbs.

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