Mark Kelly to be sworn in as Democratic senator from Arizona – CBS Information


Washington — Democrat Mark Kelly of Arizona will be sworn in as senator on Wednesday, marking the first time in over 67 years that the state will have two Democratic members of the upper chamber.

Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former congresswoman and gun control activist Gabby Giffords, defeated incumbent Republican Senator Martha McSally in a special election last month. McSally was appointed to her seat, once held by the late Senator John McCain, after losing to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in 2018. He will serve the remainder of McCain’s term, which ends in 2022.

Arizona, once a longtime Republican stronghold, elected Kelly to the Senate and President-elect Joe Biden this year. The last time two Democrats held the Senate seats in Arizona was in January 1953, after then-Senate Majority Leader Ernest McFarland lost his reelection to conservative stalwart Barry Goldwater in 1952.

Although he died in 2018, McCain’s presence loomed over the presidential and Senate races this year. McCain was a fierce critic of President Trump, and Mr. Trump has frequently disparaged the late senator even after his death. McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, endorsed Mr. Biden for president. Mr. Biden and McCain had a close relationship due to their decades serving together in the Senate. The Arizona senator also died of the same brain cancer as Mr. Biden’s son, Beau Biden.

Kelly tweeted a picture of himself and Giffords paying their respects at McCain’s grave on Tuesday.

“This morning my family paid our respects to Senator John McCain as I prepare to be sworn in tomorrow. Senator McCain has been a hero of mine since I was a young pilot. He left a legacy of service to Arizona and country that can’t be matched, but that we should all strive towards,” Kelly wrote.

Kelly was one of two Democrats to flip Republican seats in the Senate this year, along with Senator-elect John Hickenlooper of Colorado, who defeated incumbent Senator Cory Gardner. With his swearing in, the Republican majority in the Senate will narrow to 52 to 48 seats. Vice President Mike Pence, in his role as president of the Senate, will conduct the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol.

When the next Senate convenes in January, Republicans will have a thin majority of 50 to 48. Two special elections in Georgia will then determine whether Republicans maintain it, or if Democrats would gain a razor-thin majority of 50 to 50. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would break any tie.



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