There is a very heated battle going on for the Arizona Senate seat up for grabs in 2020. But Republican Sen. Martha McSally’s campaign just picked up some momentum after three former astronauts endorsed her over the Democratic challenger, Mark Kelly, who is also a former astronaut.
McSally v. Kelly
Incumbent McSally and Kelly are running in a special election to coincide with the upcoming general election, reports Fox News. McSally was appointed to the seat after the unexpected resignation of Sen. Jon Kyl, and was previously held by the late Sen. John McCain.
Both have impressive pre-politics resumes. Kelly is a former Naval officer and astronaut and also happens to be married to a former Arizona congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt while in office.
McSally also has a significant and high-profile service record, having been the first woman to fly in combat as well as being the first woman to have ever commanded a fighter squadron. This is a battle between two legitimate American heroes who could not be further apart in terms of political ideology.
We choose Sally
Right now, McSally is trailing Kelly in local polling, so any boost is a good boost. She just got that, with three former astronauts coming forward to support her over Kelly.
In an op-ed published by azcentral.com, former astronauts Tom Stafford, Charlie Duke, and Jack Lousma stated, “As former fighter pilots and test pilots, we know what it takes to get in the cockpit of a fighter jet for a test flight or combat: incredible determination, strength and grit. That’s why we support Sen. Martha McSally. As the first woman in U.S. history to fly a fighter jet in combat and command a fighter squadron, she broke barriers in the Air Force and the military.”
It was not just barriers in the military that she broke, either, as McSally sued the Defense Department regarding the requirement to wear an abaya when out in public in Saudi Arabia. She took on this fight to help spotlight the disparity between women’s and men’s right throughout the Middle East, stating, “I have to sit in the back and at all times I must be escorted by a male … [who], when questioned, is supposed to claim me as his wife. I can fly a single-seat aircraft in enemy territory, but [in Saudi Arabia] I can’t drive a vehicle.”
The three former astronauts didn’t stop at endorsing McSally. They went after Kelly, accusing him of planning to foist gun control and other Democrat policies on the state.
“But having ‘astronaut’ on your resume does not mean you’d be a good U.S. senator,” they wrote. “Mark Kelly is hoping Arizonans are so impressed with his background that they ignore the fact that he’s supported radical gun control activists, that his plan for the eventual government takeover of health care would end Medicare as we know it, and that he’d vote to raise our taxes.”
“On some of the more extreme policies of the Democrat Party, Mark has tried to stay quiet,” they continued. “We can only think of one reason: He doesn’t want to answer for his liberal political views and policies and those of his party.”
“Mark Kelly has to answer for the policies of his party because if he were elected, that’s what would become law in a Democrat-controlled government,” the op-ed continued. “They’re planning on taking away the filibuster — the higher vote threshold to pass legislation — to push through their agenda over the objections of millions of Americans. This is not hypothetical. Democrats laid out their strategy in plain sight.”
Arizona in danger
Arizona, long considered an eternal red state (since 1952, the state has voted Democrat in a presidential election one time – in 1996), is now clearly a purple state and dangerously close to turning blue. If McSally loses her Senate seat, it could very much put the Republican hold on the Senate in jeopardy.