Giffords Seat Sought by Gay Legislator

Matt Heinz announces his candidacy

Courtesy of the Office of Matt Heinz

When Gabrielle Giffords stepped down from the Arizona state legislature last month, there were mixed emotions. But as the former representative continues her recovery after being shot during an appearance last year, Matt Heinz, an openly gay Democratic candidate, says he’ll run in a special election on April 17.

Heinz already serves the district as a two-term state representative – and was a physician at the Tucson Medical Center.

“No one can replace Gabrielle Giffords,” Heinz told the press recently. “What we can do now is quickly get someone in that can honor her strength and leadership in governing in a way similar to her.”

Heinz will likely face opposition in the primary as several other Democrats are considering runs. But he’s the first to formally announce. Considered to be a moderate, during his tenure, he’s worked with Republicans in the legislature to pass 14 bills concerning health, voter registration and tax credits.