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Tea Party Candidate May Again Seek Giffords Seat

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File photo of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. (credit: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

File photo of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. (credit: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The tea party candidate who nearly ousted Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2010 appears ready to jump into the race to replace her with both feet.

Republican Jesse Kelly was on the sidelines until Giffords’ Sunday announcement that she was stepping down. On Tuesday he filed a candidacy notice with the Federal Election Commission. And on Thursday, his campaign put out its first official press release.

Kelly spokesman John Ellinwood says to expect an announcement from Kelly next week and there’s a high likelihood that he’ll officially enter the GOP special election primary for the Tucson-based 8th Congressional District.

Kelly announced after being narrowly defeated in the November 2010 election that he would challenge Giffords this year. He suspended his campaign when she was shot in Tucson last January.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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