Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly announced on Tuesday, February 12 that he will run for U.S. Senate in Arizona in 2020. Kelly, who is the identical twin brother of former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and husband of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, will run against incumbent Republican Senator Martha McSally, who was a former congresswoman. McSally replaced former Arizona Senator and Congressman Jon Kyl in January 2019 after he served a temporary term in the wake of former Arizona Senator John McCain’s death in August 2018 due to cancer.
Potential Democratic Party candidates have included former Phoneix Mayor and current Arizona Congressman Greg Stanton and Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego. Potential Republican Party candidates have included former Sheriff of Maricopa County Joe Arpaio, former Arizona Governor Fife Symington, and former Arizona state legislator Kirk Adams.
In the wake of former Arizona Congresswoman Krysten Sinema defeating McSally in a close 2018 U.S. Senate race to replace former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, the Grand Canyon State of the American Southwest, as well as the Sunbelt, is becoming more of a swing state similar to nearby Colorado and Nevada. With 5 Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation, various reasons for Arizona going purple may include the rise of non-white demographics and urban expansion due to a growing influx of people from other states.
While Arizona maybe going politically purple, it is more likely that moderate centrist Democrats who are socially liberal and moderate on economics and foreign policy are likely to get elected due to the fact that Senator Sinema, who is the first openly Bisexual and secular non-religious non-theist American senator, was a member of the conservative Blue Dog Democrats and the moderate centrist New Democrats while she was a congresswoman in the House of Representative between 2013 and 2019. The majority of the Congressional Democrats representing Arizona are either Blue Dog Democrats, New Democrats, or both while only two members, Congressmen Raul Grijalva of Tuscon and Ruben Gallego of Phoneix, are part of the liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus.
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