Mark Kelly, Retired Astronaut and Husband of Gabby Giffords, Announces Senate Run

He’ll challenge Republican Martha McSally to finish John McCain’s last term.

Matt Rourke/AP

Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut and husband of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, announced Tuesday that he is running for US Senate in 2020.

He will challenge Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), who in December was appointed to the Senate seat previously held by Sen. John McCain just weeks after narrowly losing a Senate race against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the midterm elections. McSally is considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans going into the 2020 elections.

“I learned a lot from being an astronaut,” Kelly says in a video message announcing his candidacy. “I learned a lot from being a pilot in the Navy, I learned a lot about solving problems from being an engineer. But what I learned from my wife is how you use policy to improve people’s lives. Arizonans are facing incredibly challenging issues here in the years to come.”

Kelly, an outspoken advocate for gun control, rose to national prominence after Giffords was severely injured from a mass shooting in 2011.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.