Democrat state Rep. Matt Heinz announced today he’s in the race to complete Gavrielle Giffords' term in Congressional District 8.

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Heinz says he's similar to Giffords, politically.

“Moving forward I believe the best thing that we can do is to honor her strength, and conviction, and her leadership, by getting somebody, quickly, because we don’t have much time, into that seat who is going to carry forward in the tradition of moderate, bipartisan, common sense governance that she did so well for Southern Arizona," Heinz says.

Heinz isn’t sure whether he’ll resign his state House seat during the campaign. He has balanced his work as a physician at Tucson Medical Center with his job at the Legislature, he says, which puts him in a good position to manage a legislative term and a special congressional election at the same time.

Heinz plans to run for a full term in the fall in the new Congressional District 2. But says he would drop the spring special election race if Giffords’ district director, Ron Barber, decides to run to finish the current term.

“I would be very supportive of him and in fact I would even direct my staff to gather signatures for him in the special election, at which point I would divert my focus to the Aug. 30 primary," Heinz says.

Other potential candidates have indicated they’ll make a decision soon. If they decide to run, they have less than a month to gather signatures to qualify for the ballot. Gov. Jan Brewer called the special April primary election to fill the remainder of the term after Giffords resigned last week.

The special primary election will be April 17 and the general election June 12.