DES MOINES (AP) — Former Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will headline a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley's Senate campaign, according to a press release provided to the Associated Press.
Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will speak at Braley's annual “Bruce, Blues, and BBQ” fundraiser. The event will be held Oct. 27 in Des Moines.
Braley of Waterloo is the only Democrat running for the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
“I could not be more excited to have my friends Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly come to Iowa for Bruce, Blues, and BBQ,” Braley said in the release. “Gabby and Mark have made it their life's mission to bring people together and find common sense solutions that solve some of the tough problems facing our country. I work hard every day to live by their example, and I hope to bring that same spirit to the U.S. Senate.”
Giffords was severely wounded in a January 2011 shooting outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket that left six others dead. The Democrat, who was shot in the head, resigned from Congress a year later. She still has difficulty speaking and has partial paralysis in her right leg and arm.
Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty to the shooting and was sentenced in November to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years.
Since the attack, Giffords has advocated for gun control legislation. Over the summer, Giffords and Kelly toured seven states seeking support for federal legislation that would expand background checks on gun purchases.
Braley and Giffords both were elected to Congress in 2006 and became friends. Earlier this year, Braley gave Giffords his guest ticket for the State of the Union address so she could bring more relatives.
While the Democratic field is limited to Braley, there are a number of Republicans seeking the open Senate seat. GOP hopefuls include state Sen. Joni Ernst, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker, Sioux City talk show host Sam Clovis, attorney Paul Lunde, former car salesman Scott Schaben and David Young, a former aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley.
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