It’s quite the election season already
There are 34 Senate seats in play, including a special election in Arizona for the seat of the late John McCain. That race may be the most competitive in the country. The political web site, FiveThirtyEight, says it “already looks tough for everyone … and it could decide which party controls the chamber.”
Let that sink in: Arizona could decide the control of the U.S. Senate … and the Native American vote is often a critical factor in that state’s election outcomes.
Republican Martha McSally was appointed to that post and now she’s running to hold the seat for the last two years of McCain’s term. But McSally may not be the only Republican in the race.
Kelly has already announced his candidacy. He calls the race his “next mission.” In his video announcement, Kelly said: “I care about people. I care about the state of Arizona. I care about this nation. So because of that, I’ve decided that I’m launching a campaign for the United States Senate.”
Kelly also happens to be married to former Rep. Gabby Giffords, a Tucson Democrat. The Washington Post described it this way: “His public profile is defined in large part by his relationship to his wife, which is almost unprecedented for a male politician in America. It has worked the other way around on many occasions, usually after the husband died, but not when the wife was elected first.”
Kelly has been successful raising money — a quick million in his first 24 hours.
Arizona state Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, Navajo, is the treasurer for Kelly’s campaign. This ties the campaign to the state’s tribal nations in a visible way — especially the Navajo Nation.
“I was driving along a lonely dusty road up in my district on the reservation,” Peshlakai told Indian Country Today. “And he says, ‘this is Mark Kelly.’ And I thought, oh my gosh, this is a telemarketer.”
But it was Kelly asking Peshlakai to join his campaign and add the voices from Native communities throughout the state. Both Kelly and Peshlakai served in the first Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm.