In Arizona, Mr. Kelly discovered the wind at his again, going through a weakened candidate in Republican Senator Martha McSally, and a quickly altering state the place girls, youthful voters and Latinos had change into more and more highly effective components of the voters. Ms. McSally misplaced a Senate bid in 2018 after tying herself to President Trump, solely to be appointed to a distinct seat and stick with the identical playbook in 2020.
On the marketing campaign path, Mr. Kelly leaned exhausting into his biography as a former Navy captain and astronaut, adopting the mantra “full speed ahead.” He had a compelling surrogate in Ms. Giffords, who spoke in private phrases about his dedication to each his nation and to her, gesturing in an advertisement to how he had “helped me by way of my darkest moments.”
Mr. Kelly rapidly emerged as a fund-raising juggernaut, shattering information in state and nationally by tapping his personal community and constructing a listing of small greenback donors who had been energized by Mr. Kelly’s dynamic biography and decided to wrest management of the Senate away from Republicans.
“As Mark likes to say, his spouse Gabby was already the member of the household in Congress, however tragedy upended each their lives and altered so a lot of their plans,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority chief, stated Wednesday. “Everybody continues to be impressed by Gabby’s restoration, by Mark’s devotion, and the braveness it took for his or her household to re-enter public life and public service.”
As a candidate, Mr. Kelly lower a largely cautious determine, pointedly staying away from points tinged with controversy and conserving a laserlike give attention to selling bipartisanship and well being care reform. He spoke overtly and sometimes about his admiration for Mr. McCain, a fellow naval aviator, citing the extensively revered Arizonan because the blueprint for the kind of lawmaker he wish to change into.
He’ll work out of Mr. McCain’s outdated workplace, and on Tuesday, the day earlier than being sworn in, Mr. Kelly and his household visited the senator’s grave on the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis.