NASA astronaut Mark Kelly launches Senate campaign

Kelly, who became a prominent gun-control advocate after his wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in a failed assassination attempt, announced Tuesday he will run to finish John McCain's last term in the U.S. Senate.

Ducey then named former Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) to hold the seat through a special election in 2020.

Kelly is the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived a shooting in Arizona in 2011 that left six others dead.

Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) joins her husband retired U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly in addressing reporters about the deadly shootings in Las Vegas, from a lectern outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. October 2, 2017.

Kelly and Giffords have pushed Congress to enact gun control measures, with little success.

Kelly, 54, who has been heavily recruited by Democrats, announced his intentions with a video in which he calls the campaign "my next mission". I learned a lot about solving problems from being an engineer. I care about the state of Arizona. Congressman Ruben Gallego, who has represented the state's 7th Congressional District has said he is considering entering the race as is Congressman Greg Stanton, a former Mayor of Phoenix who now represents the state's 9th Congressional District.

While Mark retired after his last NASA mission in 2011, his twin brother Scott is still an active astronaut which has allowed the two Kelly twins will take part in a groundbreaking study of the effects of outer space on genetics.

McSally, a blunt-talking former Air Force combat pilot, ran unsuccessfully for Arizona's other Senate seat in November, losing narrowly to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. Access to affordable healthcare, the stagnation of wages, job growth, the economy. Six people died and 18 were injured including Giffords, who was shot in the head and critically wounded.

Kelly, a Navy veteran and Democrat, presented himself as a science and data-focused problem solver who would work across partisan divides.

It's too early to tell what kind of candidate Kelly will make; you never know how anyone will perform in that role until they try.

McSally is a former Republican congresswoman who was appointed to McCain's seat past year after she narrowly lost to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. The victor of the 2020 election will have to run again for a full six-year term in 2022. The Democrat served four terms there, and in his final months in office in 1998 flew again in space on the STS-95 shuttle mission. John McCain after his death in August 2018.

  • Rogelio Becker