Ex-astronaut Mark Kelly makes Democratic bid for Senate seat


Democrats just got a particularly intriguing candidate to run for one of the small number of vulnerable Republican seats: Mark Kelly, former astronaut, gun safety advocate, and husband of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, announced that he'll be running in Arizona for John McCain's old seat, which is now held by Martha McSally.

The husband of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Kelly announced that he will seek to fill the late Sen.

Kelly's wife, Gabrielle Giffords, survived a shooting in 2011 and now leads a group called "Courage to Fight Gun Violence".

Kelly and Giffords have for years pushed Congress to enact gun control measures with little success. "So because of that, I've decided that I'm launching a campaign for the United States Senate", Kelly said in a video released Tuesday announcing his run as a Democratic candidate. "I learned a lot about solving problems from being an engineer", Kelly says in the announcement video.

President Donald Trump won Arizona in the 2016 election, but U.S. media say the state will be a key battleground in the 2020 elections.

He and his identical twin brother Scott both became NASA astronauts in 1996.

The video, which runs more than four minutes, gives a detailed account of Kelly's experience as a former Navy pilot, an astronaut, and being Gifford's husband.

In the ad, Kelly presents himself as a team player who would work across partisan divides to address issues like healthcare, wages, job growth, and climate change.

Giffords was severely wounded in a mass shooting on 8 January 2011, at a meet-and-greet event outside a grocery store in Tucson.

McCain, a legendary and beloved Arizona politician, died a year ago from an aggressive form of brain cancer after more than three decades in the Senate.

Gov. Doug Ducey appointed McSally to the vacant Senate seat after his first appointee, former Sen. Kelly talks about his military service - showing off his old Navy uniform - and his time as an astronaut. He flew on four shuttle missions, including STS-108 in 2001 and STS-121 in 2006 as pilot. If elected he would serve out the remaining two years of McCain's six-year term. Jon Kyl, resigned after only a few months in office.

"Captain Mark Kelly's life has been spent committed to public service, and 314 Action's network of more than 500,000 pro-science advocates is excited for him to continue that commitment by running for U.S. Senate in Arizona", Ted Bordelon, director of communications at 314 Action, a pro-science advocacy organization, said in a statement.

"The thing I have to do for my wife is to be able to think clearly and make good decisions..."