Even though Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is still in the early stages of recovery from her gunshot wound, it hasn't stopped Arizona Democrats from penciling her in as a potential front-runner for Jon Kyl's open Arizona Senate seat in 2012. Even amidst caution that it's too soon, party officials and campaign aides have been quietly speculating for over a month about laying the groundwork for her election campaign.
Her most ardent backers, observed The New York Times this morning, can already envision her TV spots: "the deep-voiced narrator recounting what happened to her, the images of her wounded, then recovering and speaking into the camera alongside her astronaut husband to call on Arizonans to unite."
And while prospective Democratic candidates, the Times noted, are "compelled" not to jump into the race until Giffords officially decides not to run, Republicans are already getting a "head start" at organizing. Which means her staff and her party are doing whatever they can to work "behind-the-scenes" to line up fundraisers, reach out to constituents and line up support in case she does run.
Again, the only problem with the optimistic speculation is that no one really know if this is what Giffords really wants. Remember, it was only a few days ago that her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, informed reporters that although she's talking "more every day" she's only "starting to process some of the tragedy that we all went through in January...going through that as we speak."