Mark Kelly, Former NASA Astronaut, Announces Run for Senate in Arizona

Gun violence victim and former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords watches her husband NASA astronaut Mark Kelly speak as they visits City Hall on her 2016 Vocal Majority Tour

Kelly, the husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, threw his hat into the ring for the upcoming Arizona senate race with a social media video revealing his "next mission" on Tuesday. Access to affordable healthcare, the stagnation of wages, job growth, the economy.

"What I learned from my wife is how you use policy to improve people's lives", Kelly said in the video.

Since the shooting both Giffords and Kelly have become advocates for stricter gun laws. "Partisanship and polarization and gerrymandering and corporate money have ruined our politics and it's divided us", he said.

The path to Democratic control of the US Senate in 2020 runs squarely through Arizona - and it appears that state may get a marquee matchup between Martha McSally, the first female combat, fighter pilot and Mark Kelly, a decorated astronaut.

McSally, a former Air Force pilot, is expected to run as well. A special election will be held in 2020 to determine who will serve the last two years of the term. The seat will be on the ballot again in 2022 for a full six-year term.

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema beat McSally in the November general election for the spot vacated by Jeff Flake. The party is also gauging whether Arizona could be competitive at the presidential level in 2020, where Trump won in 2016.

Kelly and his wife Gabrielle Giffords, shown months after she was shot in 2011 at an a Arizona grocery store while she was a Democratic Congress member. They shifted their focus to state legislatures in recent years, helping strengthen background checks and domestic violence protections, among other modest reforms.

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Republican Gov. Doug Ducey appointed McSally to the vacant Senate seat after his first appointee, former Sen.

McSally was chosen to take over the remainder of the term that Jon Kyl had temporarily filled.

Kelly, seated beside his wife, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, also reflects in the video on his wife's harrowing recovery from being shot in the head during a public event in Tucson in 2011.

Arizona has been a longstanding Republican stronghold, but a growing Latino population and frustration among women with Trump have helped Democrats make inroads.

While a couple Democrats in the state have hinted at Senate ambitions, including Representative Ruben Gallego, US media report, Mr Kelly is the first to formally announce a campaign.

"I've made no secret of the fact that I'm looking seriously at running for the U.S. Senate in 2020, and that hasn't changed", he wrote. "I'll be making a final decision and announcement soon". John McCain after his death in August 2018.


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