5 Things to Know About Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly, the former astronaut and husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), announced this week he’s jumping in the Arizona Senate race. If he successfully navigates the Democratic primary, which remains unclear as Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) openly mulls a Senate run, he will face Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who was appointed to fill Sen. John McCain’s seat.
Though Kelly has been in the public eye for years, much is unknown about certain policy positions and how he might hold up as a candidate. AR Intel dug into the available information on Kelly and put together a list of five things to know about the newest Democrat in the Arizona Senate race:
1) Strong gun control advocate
Perhaps best known as the husband to Giffords, Kelly became a strong advocate for gun control after his wife was shot and injured by a gunman in Tucson. In early 2013 Kelly and his wife formed Americans for Responsible Solutions, which later became Giffords, a political organization with a super PAC, 501(c)3, and 501(c)4 arms.
Giffords spent $7 million aiding Democrat candidates in 2018 but not without controversy. In September, the group was forced to alter an ad that used the death of a 16-year-old girl to attack Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado. They also received harsh criticism for an unfair ad they ran against McSally in 2014.
2) An environmentalist group drafted him to run
In his four-and-a-half-minute announcement video, Kelly put a placed a fair amount of emphasis on environmental issues, which was likely no mistake. In January 2019, environmental group 314 Action launched a six-figure digital ad campaign designed to convince Kelly to run. 314 Action is a group “committed to electing more STEM candidates to office, advocating for evidence-based policy solutions to issues like climate change, and fighting the Trump administration’s attacks on science.”
3) That environmentalism has drawn scrutiny in the past
Kelly and Giffords joined a massive congressional delegation trip in 2009 to Copenhagen for a UN Climate Conference that wound up costing the government $1.1 million and required “three military jets” to transport everyone. The trip “produced enough carbon dioxide to fill 10,000 Olympic swimming pools.”
Ten years later, voters may care less about the details of such a trip, but the hypocrisy shows Kelly is vulnerable to similar attacks in a potential Democratic primary.
4) Swore off PAC money
The latest trend in Democratic campaigns is swearing off corporate PAC money, and Kelly’s announcement included such a pledge. But as the Atlantic pointed out in August 2018, the gesture is mostly symbolic because “[m]ost nonincumbents don’t receive any corporate-pac donations, and they generally constitute only a small percentage of total contributions for those running for reelection.”
The move is a bit hypocritical, too, considering Kelly helps run a massive super PAC that shells out millions each cycle to political candidates. Giffords might not be a corporation, but if Kelly’s gesture is to appease those who want to remove money from politics, it’s a bit hollow.
5) Largely undefined on numerous policy positions
The Huffington Post noted on Wednesday that Kelly is “still ideologically undefined” as a Democratic candidate for office. While we can expect Kelly to take up all of the token Democratic issues in a general election, a primary challenge from Gallego or any other serious Democrat could force Kelly to take positions that may result in making him more vulnerable in the general election. Even without a primary challenger, expect Kelly to be asked about his positions on the Green New Deal, eliminating private health insurance though Medicare for All, and other hot-button liberal issues.
Senate Rumors: The Latest on Who Might Run in Arizona, Georgia, & Kansas
Despite only being a few weeks into 2019, the rumor mill is already active regarding potential candidates for 2020 Senate seats. Three states offer three unique scenarios in this installment: the seat vacated by Sen. John McCain and currently being held by Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ); the seat held by Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who is running for reelection; and the seat left open by the retiring Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas.
Expect competitive primaries in each state and the dynamics to change dramatically between now and this time next year. For now, here’s the latest on rumored candidates in Arizona, Georgia, and Kansas:
Arizona continues to be a hotbed for candidate rumors. The latest involves the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), Mark Kelly. Last week, the group 314 Action announced it’s launching an effort to “draft” Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, into the Senate race. The group, which backs candidates with scientific backgrounds, said it is putting a “six-figure” digital ad buy into the effort.
Should he win the nomination, Kelly would face Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who was appointed to fulfill the remainder of Sen. John McCain’s term after Sen. Jon Kyl stepped down.
Both Kelly and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), who represents part of Phoenix, have met with the Democratic Senatorial Committee (DSCC) about potentially running. Gallego said he would make a decision about running for the seat “in the coming weeks.”
And speaking of McCain, his former chief of staff, Grant Woods, is still considering a run as well. Woods previously served as Arizona’s attorney general as a Republican in the 1990s but would run for this seat as a Democrat. He, too, has met with the DSCC.
Speaking of taking meetings with the DSCC, 2018 failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), who serves as chair of the DSCC, about potentially challenging Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) in 2020.
Abrams “electrified Democrats,” according to CNN, but she fell 2 points short to Brian Kemp, who was sworn in as governor earlier this month. She lingered in sour grapes territory longer than most losing candidates, openly debating legal challenges, but ultimately backed down a couple weeks after Election Day.
Abrams might not be able to clear the field, however, if she runs. The mayor of Columbus, Georgia, Theresa Tomlinson, is also rumored to be seriously considering a Senate bid. She might find it difficult competing with Abrams, who established a national fundraising network and brought real star power to her campaign by having Oprah Winfrey campaign for her.
Pressure continues to grow on President Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to jump into the Kansas Senate race. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) announced he’s retiring at the end of his term, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is eager to keep the seat in Republican hands. NRSC Chair, Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), touted Pompeo during an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt. “I can conceive of no one who I’d rather work with in the United States Senate from the state of Kansas than Mike Pompeo,” he said.
During a conversation with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, Pompeo said his “singular focus” is keeping Americans safe in his current role as secretary of state.
Republicans are eager to back a candidate who can win. Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach lost the 2018 gubernatorial race and is seriously considering a bid himself. Kobach lost what many thought was a winnable race for Republicans thanks to a series of gaffes.
Per Fox News, there is a whole host of Republicans who might jump in the race: “Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, former Gov. Jeff Colyer, Rep. Roger Marshall, former Rep. Kevin Yoder and Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, are among other possible contenders.”
Who Might Gov. Ducey Appoint to Replace Jon Kyl? Three Names
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who served in the Senate in his own right from 1995 to 2013, is fulfilling the remainder of the term left by his former colleague and friend, Sen. John McCain. Around the time of his appointment, Kyl indicated that he would only serve until the end of the year, at which time Gov. Doug Ducey could appoint a longer-term successor.
Since that time, Arizona held a Senate election, and voters sent Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to the Senate. She will begin her term in January after she narrowly defeated Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who earned more than 1.1 million votes.
But the question remains: who will Ducey, a Republican, select to fill the remainder of the McCain term? The appointee will undoubtedly have the advantage of incumbency, but he or she will also have to run in 2020 to earn the right to fulfill the remainder of the McCain term and then again in 2024 for a full term of their own. To see the list, sign up for AR Intel today!
These Are the Democrats Who May Run in Battleground Senate Races in 2020
It’s never too early to be thinking about the next election, and nowhere is that truer than in a battleground state (or, of course, Washington, D.C.). As a new slate of senators prepares to take the oath of office in January 2019, the next potential crop are weighing the pros and cons of a Senate bid for 2020.
There will be 34 Senate seats up for election in 2020, including 33 regularly scheduled seats and one special election in Arizona to fulfill the remaining term for the late Sen. John McCain. The last time these seats were on the ballot in 2014, Republicans gained 9 seats, meaning they are defending more seats than Democrats in 2020.
Key battleground states will include the aforementioned Arizona, along with Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia, just to name a few. In addition, retirements could throw some races not currently on the radar into “battleground” territory (think Tennessee in 2018).
So, who are the candidates already rumored to be considering 2020 Senate campaigns? Sign up for a free, 7-day trial of AR Intel today to find out!
2018 Midterms: What We Still Don’t Know, Part 2
Two days after the 2018 midterm elections, quite a few races are still up in the air, and the final make-up of the U.S. Congress is still in question. AR Intel is breaking down where things stand in the Senate and House races that still have not been called.
To gain access to that political intelligence, sign up for a free, 7-day trial of AR Intel by subscribing here today!
Top Counties to Watch on Election Night 2018 (Part 1)
Election night can be overwhelming. Polls close at different times across the country, and in some cases, different times across the same state. With Senate, gubernatorial, House, and state legislative race results coming in simultaneously, it can be difficult to know where to look for early indicators of how the night may go.
AR Intel went state by state and highlighted the most important counties to watch in each key Senate state. We’ve broken down the results into two posts – the first below, posted on Monday, and the second will go up Tuesday morning.
If you want to learn about the key swing counties and Dem/GOP strongholds in each key Senate state, subscriber to AR Intel today! Sign up for free and enjoy a 7-day trial on us!
SENATE POLL ROUND-UP: Republicans Ahead in Indiana, Missouri
It’s no surprise that this week, the last one before the midterm elections on November 6, contained a whole slew of new polls focused on Senate races. Early voting is already underway in many states, and pollsters are now asking respondents if they have already voted, in addition to their candidate preferences.
Republicans are coming on strong in Indiana and Missouri, while Florida remains as close as ever. Meanwhile, Republicans are within striking distance in Arizona and Montana.
Want to see the polls? Take a quick minute and sign up for AR Intel. It’s free to start!
Senate Poll Round-Up: Republicans Ahead in AZ, MO, Close in NJ, MN
Polls are rolling in at an incredibly rate this week. With officially less than two weeks to go until Election Day, pollsters are eager to get their final surveys in the field in time to report the results, and some of those are beginning to pop up in the press now.
Republicans are up in states like Arizona, Florida, Indiana, and Missouri, but some polls also show Democrats leading in a couple of those races, too. Essentially these polls show that voters can expect a late night and some close races comes November 6th.
In somewhat surprising news, Republicans trail Democrats by five- and six-point margins respectively in New Jersey and Minnesota. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) continues to be plagued by his 2017 federal corruption trial, while Democrat Tina Smith was a no-show at a Senate debate in Minnesota earlier this week.
To get access this week’s state-by-state breakdown of polls, sign up for AR Intel today!
The Top 5 Debate Moments from the Past Week
Political debates are some of the most pivotal and poignant moments during any campaign. In some cases, it’s two individuals and a moderator in a room, debating the issues. In other scenarios, there’s more than two candidates and an enthusiastic audience in the room. No matter the breakdown, there’s always excitement in the air when the individuals who have stated their visions to voters, come face to face with each other.
AR Intel tracked the five most interested debate moments from the past week and compiled them here for you to see. If you can’t view the list, sign up for a free trial of AR Intel today!
Senate Democrats’ Q3 Fundraising Totals & Cash on Hand
The Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) final deadline before Election Day has come and gone, meaning we now know exactly what Senate Democrats in battleground states raised and spent in the third quarter of the year. It also means we know how much they had in the bank at the start of the final month of the campaign.
Democrats in Ohio and Missouri took the top spots for each of the fundraising categories in AR Intel’s breakdown.
To see the full breakdown, sign up for a free trial of AR Intel today!