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

Gabrielle Giffords and husband retired astronaut Mark Kelly attend the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Spring Studios in New York

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.

Kelly will challenge Republican U.S. Senator Martha McSally, a former U.S. Air Force combat pilot who was appointed to the seat held by the late John McCain.

The victor of the 2020 election will see out the remainder of McCain's term, but would also have to run again in 2022 to secure a full, six-year term.

Kelly and his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, have become outspoken gun control advocates in the years since Giffords was shot and almost killed in a 2011 assassination attempt that killed six and wounded a dozen others.

Retired NASA astronaut and Navy Capt. Mark Kelly (left) speaks as his wife, former US Rep. He became active in gun control efforts after the attack on Giffords. "I learned a lot about solving problems from being an engineer", Kelly says in the campaignannouncementvideo.

Arizona is a state that was red, is now purple, and is moving toward blue, but very slowly. Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, who represents parts of Phoenix, has been considering a run.

Mark Kelly is best known in space circles as a four-time shuttle astronaut (STS-108, STS-121, STS-124, STS-134) whose twin brother and fellow astronaut, Scott Kelly, spent nearly a year aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Kelly is married to former Democratic Rep.

Kelly points out a few issues he sees facing Arizona: access to affordable health care, stagnation of wages, job growth, the economy and the warming climate.

McSally is a former congresswoman whose appointment to McCain's seat came after she narrowly lost a Senate race a year ago to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. The seat will be on the ballot for a full six-year term in 2022. Jon Kyl, who was appointed to fill the role after McCain's death in August and stepped down at the end of 2018.

As a Navy combat pilot, Kelly was deployed during the Gulf War and flew 39 combat missions, according to his campaign page. 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.

"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", Gallego said on Twitter following Kelly's announcement.

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

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