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Posted at 5:28 PM ET, 01/10/2011

Jared Lee Loughner was a registered independent, didn't vote in 2010 election

By Chris Cillizza

Suspected Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner registered as an independent voter in Arizona in the fall of 2006, according to the Pima County Registrar of Voters.

Loughner registered to vote on Sept. 29, 2006, identifying himself as an independent. Records show he voted in the 2006 and 2008 elections but is current listed as "inactive" on the state's voter roles -- meaning that he did not vote in November.

The political affiliations of Loughner, who is being charged by state and federal authorities with the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) as well as 19 other victims outside a Tucson grocery store on Saturday, have become the subject of a white-hot partisan debate in recent days.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, liberals sought to paint Loughner as an anti-government, tea party conservative. Conservatives retorted that Loughner lacked anything close to a coherent political philosophy -- a case strengthened by subsequent glimpses into his personal life that suggests someone struggling with mental illness.

Loughner's decision to affiliate as an independent rather than a Republican or Democrat would seem to affirm the sense that while he targeted Giffords in the attack, it was not a decision born of a set of deeply held political beliefs that fit neatly into either party.

By Chris Cillizza  | January 10, 2011; 5:28 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Next: The "Haves" and the "Have Nots" of the 2012 GOP presidential race

 
 
 
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