Dems Hold Fundraiser To Support Gabrielle Giffords

WASHINGTON -- Leading House Democrats held a fundraiser on Tuesday for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from brain injuries she sustained during assassination attempt in January.

Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona, has made steady improvements since January, when alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a Giffords campaign event in Tucson, Ariz. The congresswoman was shot in the head, but survived and has since made dramatic improvements, including regaining some speech and the ability to walk.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) sent out invites to the fundraising event in February, calling for donors to come support Giffords.

"We are so proud of her as she continues to make incredible strides in her recovery," they wrote in the invitation, which was posted on the Sunlight Foundation website. "We look forward to seeing her again soon and to the day that she will rejoin us in the halls of Congress."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Giffords earlier this month as one of 15 House Democrats most vulnerable to losing their seats in 2012. Giffords won reelection in 2010, about two months before the shooting, by only two percent of the vote.

It remains unclear whether she will run again in 2012 at all, for a range of reasons including her severe injuries and some buzz that she may run for Senate to take over retiring Sen. Jon Kyl's seat.

If Giffords does run for reelection, Wasserman Schultz would push her to increase fundraising and outreach efforts as part of the DCCC's Frontline program. The 15 most vulnerable House Democrats are members of the program, which Wasserman Schultz leads.

Giffords had about $285,501 in her campaign coffers at the end of last year, according to her most recent campaign committee report.

Other Democrats also made the brief trek from the Capitol to the fundraiser at the offices of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), John Larson (D-Conn.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) were slated to attend the event, according to Sunlight.

"He is a big supporter of Rep. Giffords and wanted to continue that by being a part of tonight's event," Hoyer spokesman Daniel Reilly said of Hoyer's plan to co-host the event.