Democrat Mark Kelly Headed for Arizona Senate Win, Flipping Key State

The former astronaut was once stationed in Houston with Ilan Ramon, the Israeli folk hero who died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003

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Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly speaks to supporters at a Volunteer Launch on November 3, 2020 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly speaks to supporters at a Volunteer Launch on November 3, 2020 in Scottsdale, Arizona.Credit: Courtney Pedroza - AFP

Mark Kelly, who was once stationed in Houston with fellow astronaut Ilan Ramon – the Israeli folk hero who died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003 – is headed for the U.S. Senate, after successfully flipping a Republican seat to the Democratic column in a key state.

Kelly, a former pilot and astronaut, secured the vote in Arizona, which is viewed as increasingly crucial to Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden's chances for victory on Election Night as President Donald Trump dominated in several other swing states, while Biden held strong there.

Kelly has been projected to score a decisive victory against incumbent Sen. Martha McSally, a former congresswoman and retired air force colonel and fighter pilot. She was appointed to her Senate seat after the death of Republican incumbent Sen. John McCain in August 2018.

Kelly is a popular figure in his state, best-known for the family ordeal he experienced when his Jewish wife, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, was shot in the head during a mass shooting in 2011, and endured a long, painful rehabilitation. 

Kelly traveled to Israel just months before announcing his Senate run.

Like other competitive Senate races, unprecedented amounts of money poured into the Kelly-McSally contest, with Kelly pulling in more than $90 million – almost twice the amount in McSally’s coffers.  

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