Date of birth: Feb. 21, 1964
Residence: Tucson, Ariz.
Occupation: former NASA astronaut and Navy captain
Education: B.S., U.S. Merchant Marine Academy; M.S., U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
Family: wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; two daughters


Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly is heading to the Senate after defeating GOP Sen. Martha McSally (Ariz.) for the final two years of the late Republican Sen. John McCain’s term.

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

He is 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 in 2011. His twin brother, Scott, is also an astronaut, though they’ve never flown together.

Kelly is married to the former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in the head at an event in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011, and subsequently stepped down from Congress in January 2012.

He and Giffords started a political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions, in 2013, to advocate for tighter gun laws. The group merged with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in 2016 under the name Giffords.

— Jordain Carney


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