Mark Kelly sworn in to Senate seat

Sen. Mark KellyMark KellyState-level Republicans wracked by division after Trump's loss Moderates vow to 'be a force' under Biden Arizona Gov. Ducey says he won't run against Mark Kelly for Senate MORE (D-Ariz.) was sworn into his Senate seat by Vice President Pence on Wednesday, becoming the first of a new crop of senators set to be sworn in.

Kelly was escorted to the front of the chamber by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). Dozens of senators, including Republicans and Democrats, were in the chamber for his swearing-in.

His wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), was in the gallery overlooking the chamber during the ceremony, along with his children and Scott Kelly, his brother.



Mark Kelly won election last month after defeating GOP Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyState-level Republicans wracked by division after Trump's loss Cindy McCain on possible GOP censure: 'I think I'm going to make T-shirts' Arizona state GOP moves to censure Cindy McCain, Jeff Flake MORE (Ariz.), who was appointed to the seat. President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat touts resolution to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress Science denialism in the new administration Jill Biden to offer input on helping reunite separated immigrant families: report MORE congratulated Kelly on becoming a senator in a tweet Wednesday.


Kelly is the second Democrat to win a Senate race in Arizona since the mid-1990s. His ascension to the Senate represents the first time Arizona has had two Democratic senators since the early 1950s.

He's also the fourth member of a small group of astronauts-turned-politicians, the first being John Glenn in 1974. Kelly was selected by NASA in 1996, traveling to space four times before he retired as of October 2011.

Kelly's Senate swearing-in means Republicans' 53-47 majority is now narrowed to 52-48 for the rest of the 116th Congress. Which party will control the chamber next year is still in limbo and will be decided by the two Georgia runoff elections.

If Democrats win both races they could force a 50-50 tie, otherwise Republicans will hold 51 or 52 seats.

Kelly's ascension also likely squashes the GOP effort to confirm Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board.

An attempt to confirm Shelton before the Thanksgiving recess ran into a roadblock because of GOP opposition and coronavirus-related absences.

Because three GOP senators — Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump censure faces tough odds in Senate The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - White House targets climate change in today's executive orders The Hill's Morning Report - Biden seeks vaccine for all by summer; Trump censure? MORE (Maine) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump censure faces tough odds in Senate Bringing America back from the brink Former Sanders press secretary: Further means-testing of COVID-19 aid 'unconscionable' MORE (Utah) — oppose Shelton, she does not have the votes to be confirmed unless Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse Democrat touts resolution to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress Bringing America back from the brink Senate GOP slow walking Biden's pick to lead DHS MORE (R-Ky.) can get one of the senators to change their votes or take advantage of a Democratic absence.