State Senator officially announces looking at run for Giffords' seat

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The cat got out of the bag last week when a blogger posted that State Senator Frank Antenori planned to form an exploratory committee ahead of a possible run for Gabrielle Giffords' seat in Congress.

Monday afternoon the Republican state lawmaker made it official.

State Senator Frank Antenori shared his plans to test the waters for a run for Congress in Congressional District 8 with the Tucson Republican Women's monthly luncheon.

"Part of the exploring process is to see if that support is there, the support base of the volunteers, the support base of donors the support base of the electorate, see if the electorate thinks your capable of representing them," said Arizona State Senator Frank Antenori (R).

Currently three-term Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords represents the district.

But for the last eight months she has been recovering from a gunshot wound to the head that occurred on January 8.

A decision on her return to office may not come until May and Antenori felt that was to far out to start his committee.

"I don't expect her to have to make one, but you know waiting until May... I don't think the people of southern Arizona want to wait until May to find out who's going to be representing them in Washington," said Antenori.

If Representative Giffords decides to run for re-election.  Antenori says he will take his name out of the race.

"I really hope for the best for her.  If she able to run and vigorously represent the district in all likelihood I will probably opt out and continue to serve in the legislature," said Antenori.

Republican voters at Monday's luncheon seem to be supportive of the state senator's decision to test the waters.

"I am delighted.  Frank Antenori is probably one of the most intelligent forthright leaders that we have in the state of Arizona," said Wendy Reuter.

"I think he would represent us well as far as his timing it's always going to be difficult," said Lori Regehr.

Antenori says he will likely make a decision to run or not run for the seat by January or February.

Antenori also said he may not have to run against Representative Giffords' and that he could run for a new seat due to redistricting.