Democrat astronaut Mark Kelly has unseated Republican USAF veteran Martha McSally in the State Senate race in Arizona. Kelly had consistently led the votes against McSally and has declared victory on Tuesday.
Kelly's victory brings hope to the Democratic party in the Senate as it has lost a good number of seats to incumbent Republicans. The Democrats' goal to take on the Senate majority has grown increasingly slim. The parties are now on a tight match of 48 seats each.
Kelly, who is an astronaut by profession, is the husband of Arizona representative Gabby Giffords. Giffords resigned from office in 2012 due to a severe brain injury she suffered from a gunshot to the head after an assassination attempt in 2011, the Military Times wrote.
During a recent debate, McSally had attacked Kelly for supporting a "radical political organisation" that supports the anti-gun violence advocacy he shares with his wife. McSally dug on Kelly even more for supporting "some of the most extreme, left-wing candidates" in the US by bank rolling and endorsing them.
While admitting to owning a gun, Kelly responded to McSally's attack saying that she may have been referring to his association with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. He further explained that his advocacy group is working to pass anti-gun violence legislations that he aimed to push on a state and national level.
"Gabby was injured, shot in the head, in 2011," Kelly said.
"The issue of gun violence is personal for Gabby and me, and I'll never forget what she went through for that year and a half — in the hospital for six months, a year of significant rehab. ... So we formed an organisation to try to make communities and help communities become safer from gun violence."
Kelly also hit McSally for voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Although McSally had repeatedly campaigned in support of protecting people with pre-existing conditions, no plan had ever been presented by the Republican party regarding this issue.
McSally has lost twice in two elections in Arizona after she was defeated by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2018. She was then appointed to the state's other Senate seat by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey a year after the death of Sen. John McCain.
While Kelly flew four space shuttle missions with NASA, McSally was a top gun woman in the U.S. Air Force. She was the first woman to fly in combat and to lead a fighter squadron.