He Once Set His Sights on Stars. Now, the Senate

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly to run for US Senate out of Arizona
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2019 9:10 AM CST

(Newser) – Retired astronaut Mark Kelly has announced his "next mission"—and it's an ambitious, albeit earthbound, one. "I care about people. I care about the state of Arizona. I care about this nation. So because of that, I've decided I'm launching a campaign for the United States Senate," Kelly says in a four-minute video posted to his website Tuesday morning. Per the AP, Kelly will be running as a Democrat for the Arizona seat once held by the late Sen. John McCain, now held by Republican Martha McSally, who was appointed in December after losing the other Arizona Senate seat in November to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. The Arizona race is set to be one of the most closely contested Senate races of 2020.

The AP adds that, if Kelly, 54, gets the Dems' nomination, the race "would pit a Navy veteran and astronaut against a trailblazing Air Force pilot in the contest to replace McCain, a legendary Navy flyer." In addition to his time in the Navy, Kelly has spent nearly 60 days in space for NASA across three missions, per the Hill; his twin, Scott, is also a retired NASA astronaut. "My parents taught my brother and I the value of hard work," Kelly notes in his launch video, which also touches on the 2011 shooting of his wife, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. "I always knew that I was gonna serve this country in some way." Kelly has been a strong advocate for gun control since the attack on his wife. Kelly's hashtag on Twitter to accompany his announcement: "#FullSpeedAhead." (Read more Mark Kelly stories.)

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