Gabrielle Giffords To Resign From Congress, Focus On Recovery

Just over a year after she was seriously wounded by a crazed gunman while conducting a constituent meeting on a Saturday morning, Congressman Gabrielle Giffords announced today that she would be stepping down from her Congressional seat to focus on her recovery:

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will step down from Congress this week to focus on her recovery, her staff announced Sunday.

“I have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for Arizona, I will step down this week,” Giffords said in a video message.

Giffords, a third-generation Arizonan who served five years in the state Legislature before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2006, will not seek re-election this fall.

Giffords vowed to return public service.

“I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country,” she said.

In the two-minute video, Giffords urged her colleagues in Congress to work across party lines.

“A lot has happened over the past year,” she said. “We cannot change that. But I know on the issues we fought for, we can change things for the better.”

Giffords will submit her letter of resignation later this week to House Speaker John Boehner and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. The governor will set the date for special primary and general elections to determine who will serve the remainder of Giffords’ term.

Before she leaves office, Giffords will finish her Congress On Your Corner event that was interrupted by a gunman on Jan. 8, 2011. In a private gathering in Tucson, Giffords will meet with some of the people who were at the event, her staff said.

Here’s the video:

Unfortunate news, but understandable nonetheless. Hopefully Giffords will be able to return to public service someday.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Smart decision from a good woman.

    A tragedy this is her end – she had potential for greater things.

  2. Bill says:

    Congresswoman Giffords,

    I am an eighteen year former Nevada State Senator, a Veteran and a Republican. I am truly saddened to hear that you will not be running again for re-election. Regardless of my party affiliation and the fact that I live in Las Vegas, I would have voted for you and supported you 100%. I consider myself your constituent and thank you for your service to our country. I will always remember your dedication to the people of Arizona. I will always remember your spirit and example. Job well done. Thanks
    Bill O’Donnell

  3. Matt says:

    I heard about this from another source and there is an interesting little piece about the work Representative Gabrielle Giffords could continue to do. For instance gun control. Sorry to see Representative Giffords Leave Congress, a Year after being shot but I understand.

    Check out the article here

  4. Personally, I thought she should have resigned back when the shooting occurred. As tragic as her circumstances were, the people in her district needed a representative in congress and she simply wasn’t capable of doing that job. There’s to many politicians out there who think that their jobs are merely ceremonial positions and that once they get elected, they’re free to disappear for months or years at a time and have the slot held open for them.

    It’s most egrious in people who run for president and want their previous position as insurance, but there’s an increasing number of people, particularly in the senate, who are medically incapable of doing the duties of their office, other than occasionally being wheeled in for a showcase vote.

  5. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: The danger in this case would have been to allow assassination to change the makeup of congress.

    Yes, the shooter was crazy, and not thinking entirely rationally, but the more effective he is at achieving his goals — or even his perceived goals — the more it feeds the delusions of the crazed fellow in the next congressional district who hasn’t gone beyond fantasizing about it.

    As far as the rest of your comment goes, though, I’m in complete agreement. It would probably help the medical cases if they were able to name their own replacement, rather than have it go to the governor. Keeping a vote from switching R to D, or vice versa, is likely considered a pretty good reason to hang onto that seat. It wasn’t Kennedy’s reason, but it does come up.

  6. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: My thought on that was that the lapsing in and out of a coma probably made it difficult for her to get to a computer to send her resignation. Otherwise–right with ya on that “shoulda” thing.

  7. bandit says:

    Why is her making the right decision unfortunate?

  8. Jenos Idanian says:

    I think it educational to look back on what certain people said about the Giffords shooting:

    Giffords is one of the representatives Sarah Palin put in her gun sights before the election.

    commenter “mantis,” Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 14:19.

    He is a tea party. Anti government unibomber type. Animal farm is his favorit book. We hates the federal government and thinks the constitution is the only law. We should be on the gold standard. Government controls us through the use of language. Probably watches glenn beck.

    commenter “test,” Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 17:24.

    And the other threats against and attacks on other members of Congress that have happened since the wingnuts started braying about “2nd Amendment solutions” to the librul problem?

    Also not connected in any way?

    commenter “ponce,” Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 13:44.

    When far right conservatives are reduced to arguing that the most routine cliches of speechmaking that have been uttered by Democratic or Republican politicians for years constitute invocations to go out and murder people then they are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. It’s a measure of just how exposed they know they are by these events.

    commenter “Brummagem Joe,” Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 15:48.

    What we know is that we have a man who appears to be a paranoid schizophrenic. We know that numerous people around him identified him (in amateur capacities) as such. And yet in Arizona he was able to buy a pistol and an extended magazine and ammo for same.

    How did this happen? The Republican party made it happen. It’s really that simple. The GOP’s fetishization of guns, its slavish adherence to extremist NRA doctrine, made it possible for a mental case to buy a weapon that is of no value in hunting, and a magazine which only has value to people contemplating mass murder.

    The time to discuss that fact is now. Because there is no “later.”

    We also know that the right has practiced deliberately violent rhetoric that is closely linked intellectually and emotionally with the gun cultists. I believe the right is recklessly poisoning political dialog by linking threats (Reload! The blood of patriots and tyrants . . . etc…) with demonization and dehumanization of political opponents. And further that the right is mixing this stew with elements of racism.

    The time to talk about this is also now.

    commenter “michael reynolds,” Monday, January 10, 2011 at 09:54

    What’s remarkable here is not that people jumped all over the assassination right away and started indicting right wing eliminationists, but that the right has been so successful at keeping this out of the conversation after the last few extreme right cranks have committed acts of mass murder. Some gun nut opens fire at a chuch specifically because he wants to kill liberals — and all we hear is the comforting sound of “hush, hush, let’s not bring politics into this.”

    EVery time an evil rightie commits an atrocity, we’re supposed to add a couple more items to the list of things never to be talked about — gun control, the murderous insanity of Operation Rescue, not it’s the open calls for violence and murder from the establishment right.

    Commenter “wr,” Monday, January 10, 2011 at 13:09.

    I blame Rupert Murdoch, Fox News, and his propaganda machine (which includes Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann) for creating an environment in this country where the idea to shoot a Congressional Representative even occured to this young man.

    Commenter “Dems De Breaks,” Monday, January 10, 2011 at 12:11

    No evidence the shooter was encouraged by the political atmosphere? You must have a pretty strict definition of evidence.

    There are 435 members in the House of Reps, most of whose names none of us know. Most people cannot even name their own representative. Sarah Palin’s chart puts targets on 20 reps and she vocally opposes them in the election. From what I can gather, 18 of those lost their re-election campaigns or retired. Incumbents almost always win re-election, but Sarah has proven she has great influence in certain areas of the country, and her star power alone raises name recognition for the candidates she endorses, helps them raise money, and generally raises the stakes in races that would have otherwise probably drawn little attention.


    1) The congresswoman who gets shot just happens to be one of the remaining two on Sarah’s chart.

    2) A distinguishing feature of this congresswoman is that she voted for Obamacare, which Palin suggested will lead to death panels.

    3) The shooter just happens to be someone who greatly fears government control of his life, just as he has been told by Sarah he should. He planned ahead to assassinate the congresswoman.

    4) The congresswoman’s most recent political opponent, who was endorsed by Palin (obviously), invited people to come shoot an M-16 rifle to symbolize taking out the congresswoman.

    5) One state away, a high profile senatorial candidate, endorsed by Palin, was suggesting that “the people” might reasonably decide to exercise “2nd amendment remedies”. No prominent members of her party voiced any discomfort over this.

    6) The victim herself expressed discomfort with the Palin targeting image. Her office was the target of vandals, and she and her staff report that her meetings with her constituents are growing increasingly tense.

    7) The frequency of death threats against politicians has escalated dramatically in recent year.

    In the face of all this, is it not reasonable to infer that there is at least an indirect connection between the political climate and the violent event? We can’t prove it, but does our common sense not tell us it’s probably so?

    Commenter “AM,” Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 11:19.

    Remarkable what a Google search of this site’s archives can turn up, isn’t it?

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    I stand by every word.

  10. Nilap Haras says:

    Congratulations, Sarah Palin, now you can remove that gun sight from your map.

  11. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    WTF is your point?

  12. michael reynolds says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    I believe he’s proved conclusively that he can use both the Google and the cut-and-paste functions.

  13. @michael reynolds:

    He’s figured out the blockquote tag too!

  14. Jenos Idanian says:

    Let me add this to the discussion: there was one website that talked explicitly about “targeting” and “taking out” Giffords, and even had one contributor — a constituent of Giffords — pronounce Giffords “dead to me.” But the above people didn’t blame Daily Kos for the shooting.

    Loughner was (and is) insane, with utterly incoherent politics and no ideological motivations whatsoever. But that didn’t prevent a lot of people, like the above, from immediately blaming the Tea Party and the right in general. And they just won’t let go of that.

  15. bandit says:

    @michael reynolds: Because you’re a lunatic h8r