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Mark Kelly Enters the Race for McCain's Senate Seat
15 February 2019, 01:12 | Tara Lloyd
Mark Kelly announces bid for John McCain's Senate seat
Mark Kelly, the acclaimed astronaut who became a political activist after his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was almost assassinated eight years ago, has announced plans to run as a Democrat for the late John McCain's former U.S. Senate seat. "By the time I met Gabby, I had already flown my first two flights on the space shuttle", he says before turning to his wife, former Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and asking, "You remember when you first entered Congress for the first time?" Martha McSally current holds the seat until the 2020 special election.
FILE - Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a gunshot to the head in 2011 during a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., sits with her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, at a Senate panel hearing on gun violence, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Kelly, a Democrat, made the announcement on Twitter in a video featuring his wife, former Rep.
Giffords and Kelly have been active on gun control issues in recent years.
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"We've seen this retreat from science and data and facts", Kelly says towards the end after announcing his intention to run. [.] I care about people, I care about the state of Arizona, I care about this nation.
Rep. Ruben Gallego of Phoenix is also considering a Senate run, which would likely set up a tough fight for the Democratic nomination.
Kelly, a former naval aviator, was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1996, in the same class as his twin brother Scott.
CBS News' Ed O'Keefe reports that Kelly's run was long expected and he isn't expected to be the only Democrat in the race.
"It becomes pretty obvious, pretty early when you get into space that we're all kind of in this together", Kelly said in a video released to accompany the launch of his Senate campaign. That activism, the years they've spent campaigning for candidates who shared their beliefs on guns, and Kelly's experience in the Navy and at NASA mean he isn't a neophyte when it comes to government and politics.
As a Navy combat pilot, Kelly was deployed during the Gulf War and flew 39 combat missions, according to his campaign page.
He's aiming for the seat now held by Republican Martha McSally, who took over the spot left vacant by Sen. McCain won re-election in 2016 but died from brain cancer last August.
In other words, universal background checks would not have done a thing to prevent the attack from occurring. The victor would have to run again for a full six-year term in 2022. Kelly announced today he will run for U.S. Senate in 2020. "I'll be making a final decision and announcement soon".
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