Retired astronaut Mark Kelly announces 2020 Senate bid for McCain seat

On Tuesday Kelly announced that he plans to replace the late Senator John McCain's seat as a registered Democrat.

Ducey then named former Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) to hold the seat through a special election in 2020. Gabby Giffords, who survived being shot in the head at a public event in 2011.

Kelly and his wife were thrust into the national consciousness on January 8, 2011, when Giffords was the target of an assassination attempt at a meet-and-greet event with constituents outside a supermarket in her hometown of Tucson, Arizona.

Kelly made the announcement in a video message on Twitter.

"Solving some of the hardest problems requires one thing, and that's teamwork ..." [.] I care about people, I care about the state of Arizona, I care about this nation. 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. He also posts a video featuring images of his wife right after an assassination attempt and pictures with his identical twin, who also became an astronaut.

If Kelly, 54, wins the Democratic nomination - he is the first candidate to announce - the Senate contest will be between the Navy veteran and former astronaut and McSally, the first female Air Force pilot.

The retired NASA astronaut said Arizonans face "incredibly challenging issues" in the future, focusing on access to health care, wage stagnation, job growth and the effects of climate change in his first four-minute video.

Kelly flew combat missions in Iraq and Kuwait as a US Navy aviator during Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91 and went into space four times on the US space shuttle.

"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.

McSally, a former U.S. Air Force combat pilot, was appointed previous year to the seat held by the late McCain.

As a Navy combat pilot, Kelly was deployed during the Gulf War and flew 39 combat missions, according to his campaign page. Six others died and 12 were wounded in the attack by a lone gunman who is now serving seven consecutive life terms in prison. The victor will have to run again for a full six-year term in 2022.

Mark Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, has announced his intentions to run for the United States Senate. "I'll be making a final decision and announcement soon".

  • Joey Payne