Former astronaut Mark Kelly is now Senator-elect Mark Kelly. The gun-control advocate defeated incumbent Martha McSally in Tuesday’s general election, meaning he’s going to Washington.
Democrat Mark Kelly has unseated Republican incumbent Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona’s special election, a call that came hours after Kelly told supporters he was confident that when all votes are counted in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race, “we’re going to be successful in this mission.”
“This hasn’t been a typical year, and that’s why tonight is not about celebrating. Tonight is about getting to work,” he said Tuesday night to a small group of supporters in Tucson.
The Associated Press called the race for Kelly at 12:51 a.m. Wednesday.
Kelly, a first-time candidate, retired NASA astronaut and husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., won on a message of partisan independence, science-based decision-making, affordable health care and insurance coverage for preexisting medical conditions against the backdrop of a lethal pandemic.
He also ran on gun control to some degree.
However, what does Kelly’s win actually mean for gun control? The loss of McSally in the Senate means Democrats gain ground in the chamber that may well be just as vital as the White House, in my opinion. That’s going to hurt.
The thing is, though, Kelly is just one person.
Plus, his win doesn’t mean as much as some might think.
While I won’t go into great detail, Martha McSally isn’t a great candidate. This was her second Senate race, and she lost both of them. Arizona voters simply don’t respond positively to the former fighter pilot. In fact, they respond quite the opposite. In fact, it sure looks like McSally is directly responsible for turning Arizona blue.
Not a good thing for a Republican.
Kelly’s win may, at least to some degree, have more to do with who he was running against than it does with him.
Of course, that may just be me rationalizing someone I vehemently dislike winning a major office. Regardless, though, he still represents a threat to our gun rights. Just not as much as he and the Democrats like to believe.
While plenty of Senate races remain undecided–at least one of Georgia’s won’t be decided this week as it’s headed to a runoff–the worst-case scenario has Democrats hold a mild majority in the Senate. Yes, Kelly will be part of that, to be sure, but it won’t be enough to break the filibuster which means nothing goes through unless Senate Republicans agree to it. That’ll put the kibosh on many of the left’s more radical notions.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not thrilled that Kelly won. My hope is that Arizona voters will decide one term is enough and he’ll be bounced come time for reelection. Then again, I don’t really get a say since I don’t live in Arizona.
Still, it should be interesting to see just how quickly Kelly tries to establish some gun control through the Senate. I don’t think he’s going to be productive.