WASHINGTON – Mark Kelly is running for U.S. Senate in Arizona, the retired astronaut and husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords announced in a campaign video posted to Twitter on Tuesday.
— Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly) February 12, 2019
“It becomes pretty obvious pretty early when you get into space that we’re all kind of in this together,” Kelly said in the video.
Kelly, 54, is a Democrat. He will face Republican Sen. Martha McSally, 52, in the 2020 special election.
McSally was appointed to the Senate in December by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also a Republican. She previously served four years in the House of Representatives.
McSally, a retired Air Force colonel, narrowly lost to then-congresswoman-and-now-fellow-Sen. Krysten Sinema (D) in the November contest to succeed Republican Jeff Flake, who opted not to seek re-election.
Kelly has never sought political office but became well-known due to his work with Giffords on behalf of gun control. In 2013 the couple started a PAC called American for Responsible Solutions to promote gun-control legislation.
Giffords was shot in the head on Jan. 8, 2011, outside a grocery store near Tucson, Ariz., where she was meeting with constituents. A total of 19 people were shot, six fatally.
Jared Lee Lougher pleaded guilty to 6 charges of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. He is serving a sentence of life plus 140 years.
Giffords, who was his target, was nearly killed. She is still recovering from her injuries. The Democrat resigned from Congress on Jan. 25, 2012, to focus on her recovery. She had represented Arizona’s 8th Congressional District since January 3, 2007.
After serving as a Navy pilot, Kelly joined NASA in 1996 along with his twin brother, Scott. Both were selected to become Space Shuttle pilots. Mark Kelly retired from NASA in January 2011, citing the need to help in his wife’s recovery.