Mark Kelly: First Space, Next the US Senate?

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The rumor-mill has generated chatter this week that Mark Kelly—veteran, astronaut, and husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.)—could make a run for Senate. He announced his retirement from NASA earlier this week, and posted on Facebook that he “will look at new opportunities” to once again “serve our country.”

With the coming retirement of Jon Kyl in 2012, there will be an open seat in Arizona available should Kelly decide to run. But this of course raises all kinds of questions about Giffords’ status and whether she will be able to run for reelection to her House seat, or possibly—circumstances permitting—run for Senate herself. If she isn’t able to run for reelection, Kelly could also run to fill her seat in the lower House.

In either case, he’d have a lot going for him. Spouses running to fill the seat of their partner have done pretty well in the past (usually when the partner dies, but in this case I think the sentiment would still transfer, given the tragic circumstances). Military vets also have a pretty good record, and astronauts have done pretty well for themselves, too. Before she was shot in January, Giffords’ was considered a likely candidate to run for Kyl’s seat, but since then, no other prime contender has really shaken out of the mix. Might Kelly be the next best choice?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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