Home / Politics / Astronaut and gun reform activist Mark Kelly launches Arizona Senate campaign

Astronaut and gun reform activist Mark Kelly launches Arizona Senate campaign

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17:  Gun violence victim and former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords watches her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly,  speak as they visits City Hall on her 2016 Vocal Majority Tour on October 17, 2016 in New York City. Giffords and Kelly are on a six-week, nationwide bus tour to battleground states asking people to vote for candidates who support gun violence prevention legislation in this coming November election. The Vocal Majority Tour is a project of their national organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC. Giffords, who has made a dramatic recovery, survived an assassination attempt in 2011 near Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Mark Kelly speaks in favor of gun violence prevention legislation as his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, looks on

Former NASA astronaut and gun reform activist Mark Kelly has announced he is running for Senate in Arizona. Kelly’s life was upended in 2011, when his wife, then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, survived a mass shooting that took the lives of six people and wounded more than a dozen. In an announcement video (watch below), Giffords appears with Kelly as he recounts the shooting. “I thought then that I had the risky job” as an astronaut, he says. “Turned out, that you were the one who had the risky job.” Since the shooting, the two have organized and lobbied relentlessly for stronger gun laws.

Kelly is entering what’s expected to be a competitive Democratic primary to challenge Sen. Martha McSally for the last two years of the late Sen. John McCain’s term. McSally became the second person appointed to succeed McCain after she lost a Senate race to now-Sen. Kyrsten Sinema last November, prompting the first appointee to step down. Having lost once, McSally is a juicy target for 2020.

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