Retired astronaut Mark Kelly is taking steps toward a Senate run against Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., next year – identifying potential staffers and strategists and meeting with Democrats around Arizona, The Hill reported.
Citing unnamed sources, The Hill reported Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., has been calling and meeting with top local Democrats since late last year, has identified a campaign manager, and is working with one of Arizona's top Democratic strategists.
Kelly has also met with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, to discuss a possible campaign.
A group that backs candidates with scientific backgrounds, called 314 Action, is even funding a six-figure digital ad campaign on social media to urge Kelly to enter the race.
"Mark appreciates the encouragement that he's gotten from folks who are looking for someone to represent us in Washington who will address serious problems like low wage growth, climate change, healthcare," Rodd McLeod, the top Arizona strategist serving as Kelly's spokesman, told The Hill. "He's going to make a decision, but he has to go through a process of making sure that he considers what running for Senate would be like for him and his family."
Should he decide to go for it, he will have company in the bid against McSally. who was appointed to replace Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., at the end of 2018. The seat had belonged to the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. McSally had lost the race for Arizona's other Senate seat to Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
Schumer and Cortez Masto have also met with Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz. – as has former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods – The Hill reported.
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