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Mark Kelly raises eye-popping $4 million in Arizona Senate race

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly’s Arizona Senate campaign announced Wednesday that it has raised an eye-popping $4 million in the first quarter of 2019.

The campaign said its haul was driven by more than 58,000 contributions, 96 percent of which were $100 or less. The average online contribution was $25, Kelly's campaign said.

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“Our campaign is fueled by supporters from all walks of life chipping in what they can because they want a voice in their democracy and they know Mark will be an independent leader for Arizona,” campaign manager Jen Cox said in a press release. “We’re proud of the cactus roots campaign we are building with contributions from each of the fifteen counties in Arizona and without a dime from corporate PACs.”

Kelly has high name recognition as a former astronaut and as husband to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who narrowly survived a shooting in 2011. The couple has since been a high-profile duo advocating for gun law reform. 

Kelly is running to face off against Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Republicans increasingly seek distance from Trump Democratic super PAC pulls remaining ads from Colorado Senate race MORE (R) to serve the remaining two years of the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump digs in on conspiracy theory over bin Laden raid At 97, Bob Dole is still fighting for his country Leadership matters: President's words and actions show he is unfit to lead our nation MORE’s (R) seat. McSally was appointed to the Senate in December after McCain’s death in August, with former Sen. Jon Kyl (R) serving in the interim months.

McSally’s campaign has yet to release its first quarter fundraising haul.

It appears unlikely that the former astronaut will face a serious primary challenge after Rep. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoLeadership matters: President's words and actions show he is unfit to lead our nation Overnight Defense: Pentagon IG to audit use of COVID-19 funds on contractors | Dems optimistic on blocking Trump's Germany withdrawal | Obama slams Trump on foreign policy House Democrat optimistic defense bill will block Trump's Germany withdrawal MORE announced last month he would sit out a Senate bid.

Democrats see the Arizona Senate race as one of their top pickup opportunities after Kyrsten Sinema (D) defeated McSally last year in the race to replace the retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump excoriates Sasse over leaked audio Biden holds 8-point lead over Trump in Arizona: poll How fast population growth made Arizona a swing state MORE (R).