Dr. Carmona running for U.S. Senate
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Former U.S. Surgeon General, and prominent Tucsonan, Doctor Richard Carmona is running to replace retiring U.S. Senator Jon Kyl.
Doctor Carmona entering the race isn't a total surprise but there was a good deal of suspense over whether he'd jump in.
We knew Democrats had been courting him to run but there was some question over whether he'd go for it.
For a long time Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was regarded as the most likely Democrat to run for the Senate seat but her injury from the January 8th mass shooting left it an open question whether she'll even run for reelection to the House.
Former state democratic chair Don Bivens declared for the seat. Now a candidate with more name recognition has entered the race.
Carmona has been a high profile force in Tucson and nationally. Republican president George W Bush chose him to be Surgeon General, the nation's top doctor.
He is a veteran of Army Special forces, a trauma surgeon and Pima Sheriffs Deputy who even dangled from a helicopter to pull off a risky rescue.
Former state Attorney General and Democratic governor candidate Terry Goddard says he was among those urging Carmona to run. He says as a Senator, Doctor Carmona could help build a more moderate image for Arizona.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: "Do you think he might be the sort of person who might be a little impatient for politics as it is right now?"
Goddard: "Well I think maybe that's why it took him a long time to make up his mind. Politics is sometimes frustratingly slow and indirect. And Doctor Carmona is neither one of those things. He's quick and he's very direct."
Pima County Democratic chair Jeff Rogers says now Democrats have two strong candidates for Senate.
Carmona has been regarded as an independent. Rogers says voters may find that very appealing.
"He's just exactly the kind of person America needs right now. Someone who knows Washington's broken. He knows it from being there; and he knows we need the sort of people who aren't insider politicians to solve these problems."
Doctor Carmona has not been available for on-camera interviews. He's on a panel investigating whether the bodies of dead military personnel were mishandled when they were processed through Dover Air Base in Delaware.
A campaign worker says the Doctor will have a formal campaign kickoff soon.