Retired astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of Gabby Giffords, to run for Senate

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of Gabby Giffords, to run for Senate

"So because of that, I've decided that I'm launching a campaign for the United States Senate", Kelly said. And whoever controls the chamber in 2021 will have the final say on presidential appointments - to diplomatic posts, cabinet positions and, most significantly, the US Supreme Court.

Kelly, 54, became a national campaigner for gun law reform after his wife, the congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot and severely injured in January 2011. McSally was appointed to the late Republican Arizona Sen.

"Partisanship and polarization and gerrymandering and corporate money have ruined our politics and it's divided us", he says in the video.

If Kelly is nominated the race would pit the Navy veteran and astronaut against McSally, a trailblazing Air Force pilot, in the contest to replace McCain, a legendary Navy flyer who was famously shot down and held captive in North Vietnam.

If Kelly can beat McSally, Arizona will be represented by two Democratic senators for the first time since the 1950s.

McSally, a former U.S. Air Force combat pilot, was appointed previous year to the seat held by the late McCain. The seat will be on the ballot again in 2022 for a full six-year term.

Kelly, a former naval aviator, was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1996, in the same class as his twin brother Scott.

Kelly's wife Giffords - who served as a congresswoman from 2006 to 2012 - was featured prominently in the video.

Kelly retired as a NASA astronaut in 2011 after completing four missions into space over the span of decade. They shifted their focus to state legislatures in recent years, helping to strengthen background checks and domestic violence protections, among other modest protections.

Of course Mark Kelly has to win the Democratic nomination first, but he has the political connections, the biography and the public profile to make him a front-runner.

"I thought that I had the risky job".

In an interview with Arizona's Morning News, political consultant Alex Castellanos pointed to Kelly's history as a U.S. Navy captain as one of the most appealing aspects for voters. Jon Kyl, who had been appointed a few months earlier following GOP Sen.

Arizona has been a longstanding Republican stronghold, but a growing Latino population and frustration among women with Trump have helped Democrats make inroads. Ruben Gallego, Democratic Congress member from Phoenix, is also considering a Senate run.

"I've made no secret of the fact that I'm looking seriously at running for the US Senate in 2020, and that hasn't changed", he wrote.

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, a lifelong Republican who became a Democrat and a fierce critic of Trump, announced last week that he won't run, saying he didn't want to fight in a contested Democratic primary.

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