by Jim Nintzel
With Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords announcing her plans to resign this week, the next political question is: What’s next?
Southern Arizona will have a special primary and a special general election.
Here’s how it works:
Once a vacancy is officially declared, Gov. Jan Brewer will have three days to set a date for a special partisan primary election within roughly 90 days and a special general election roughly 60 days after the primary.
That means there will be a primary election in April for the current CD8 seat; the winners of those contests will then run for in a general election will happen sometime in June.
While that is taking place, Giffords’ current CD8 staff will remain at work, under the command of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.
While candidates are campaigning for the old CD8 seat, they’ll also be gathering signatures and running for the new Congressional District 2 seat that covers much of the same territory, although it does not include areas in Marana, Oro Valley and Saddlebrooke.
ETA: Another wrinkle for would-be candidates: They will have 30 days from the day that Brewer calls the special election to gather 800-plus signatures to get their names on the ballot.