April 3, 2024

Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva reveals cancer diagnosis

Capitol Hill was rocked on Tuesday when a long-serving Democratic congressman announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) revealed in a statement what had previously been misdiagnosed as possible pneumonia has now been confirmed as an unspecified form of cancer upon further testing, according to the Washington Examiner.

The Arizona lawmaker, who has served in Congress since winning a seat in the 2002 election, is the ranking Democratic member on the House Natural Resources Committee and previously served as a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Diagnosed with cancer

"A few weeks ago, I sought medical treatment for a persistent cough which was initially diagnosed as pneumonia. After further testing and imaging, my physician discovered that I have cancer," Rep. Grijalva said in the Tuesday statement. "This diagnosis has been difficult to process, but I am confident in the vigorous course of treatment that my medical team has developed, and I’ve begun my journey to fight this cancer."

"My congressional office remains open and the many services we provide for our constituents continue uninterrupted," he continued. "I am in regular communication with my staff and I continue to work as I undergo treatment. It is a privilege to serve as a Representative for the people of Arizona and I take this responsibility very seriously."

"I am grateful to my family, friends and doctors for their support, and I am working hard to get healthy and return to business as usual as soon as I am able," the congressman added. "I appreciate your consideration, well wishes and respect for my family’s privacy during this time. My heart goes out to others struggling with cancer, and I wish everyone strength in their fight."

Has not voted in Congress since mid-February

The Tucson Sentinel reported that Rep. Grijalva, 76, has been missing in action in the halls of Congress since mid-February, when he last cast a vote on a measure before the House.

Since then, he has missed at least 50 other roll-call votes on other legislation. He has also canceled previously scheduled appearances over that time, including a local radio show interview that was set to occur on Friday.

The outlet further noted that Grijalva declined to specify what sort of cancer he was diagnosed with, nor did he provide any details on the form of treatment he has been receiving or when that treatment regimen began.

Still intends to run for re-election in November

Axios reported that Rep. Grijalva is the longest-tenured member of Arizona's congressional delegation to Washington D.C., and at least for now, that tenure doesn't appear to be in danger.

According to his spokesman, Ruben Reyes, the congressman has no plans to resign from office and instead intends to continue running for re-election.

In fact, per the Sentinel, Grijalva filed his nominating petition to be included on the ballot for the state's primary election, well ahead of the April 1 deadline for the July 30 election.

Both Dem and GOP candidates running unopposed in primary

As noted, Rep. Grijalva has represented Arizona's 7th District, which includes parts of the cities of Yuma and Tucson and the western Phoenix metro area, since he was sworn into office after winning the 2002 election for that seat.

The Sentinel noted that the 7th District's primary election will be little more than a formality, as the incumbent congressman faces no primary challengers and, over on the Republican side, only a single candidate, small business owner Daniel Butierez, successfully filed in time to appear on the ballot.

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