cronkitenews.azpbs.org PHOENIX – Former astronaut Mark Kelly’s launch event for his U.S. Senate bid drew several hundred Democratic supporters, a curious Republican and even a candidate for Phoenix mayor Sunday. Kelly stuck with the space theme, calling his campaign a “mission for Arizona.” “If we don’t get our act together, Arizona is going to have more heat, more drought and less economic development,” Kelly said. “We’re in a fight for the future of our state and our country.” Climate change, common sense gun laws and education, with an emphasis on science, were priorities Kelly set for his policy agenda, calling for “cooperation and teamwork.”
Also on hand to show his support was Phoenix mayoral candidate Daniel Valenzuela who posed for a photo with Kelly and his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Tucson, after the event. “I have always admired Gabby and Mark for their dedication to service and Arizona,” Valenzuela said in a tweet Sunday. Kelly is running as a Democrat for the seat vacated by the late Sen. John McCain, currently filled by former Arizona representative Martha McSally, who was appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey in December. However, the National Republican Senate Committee attacked Kelly in a tweet Sunday claiming he was previously a registered Republican in his home state of Texas in 2012. He responded “yes” to questions Sunday asking whether he was a Democrat. “Kelly has been more interested in ‘resistance’ than securing our border, proving he’s just another obstructionist Democrat,” Republican National Committee Spokeswoman Renae Eze said in an email. “Arizonans deserve a leader who will take clear stances on issues important to them from day one and fight for their interests – not just another political bystander.” The RNC also encouraged people to use their politically space-themed Snapchat filter during his rally that read, “Mark Kelly’s failure to launch. Arizona, we have a problem.” The filter did not appear to be live during the Phoenix campaign event. In response to criticism and to close his speech, Kelly used his wife’s favorite quote, and his campaign slogan, from Rear Admiral David Farragut during the Civil War: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” Kelly first announced his candidacy in a tweet February 12 and currently has no challengers, as he is the first candidate to declare for the 2020 special election. Rep Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, said in a tweet the same day that he is seriously considering a run and would make a final decision soon. McSally is also expected to run to keep the office, but has not made an official announcement. For more stories from Cronkite News, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org This story originally appeared on Cronkite News and is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
In 2012, Mark Kelly registered as a Republican to vote in the Texas GOP primary.— The Senate Majority (@NRSC) February 24, 2019
Since then his SuperPAC has spent millions promoting gun control and supporting liberals like Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton
Which Mark Kelly is Arizona going to get? #AZsen #AZpolitics pic.twitter.com/QB9BcCTCBm