Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.  Political Note #359 Maggie Hassan US Senate New Hampshire, Political Note #365 Catherine Cortez Masto US Senate Nevada, Political Note #379 Raphael Warnock US Senate Georgia, Political Note #364 Melanie Stansbury NM 01 Special Election, June 1, 2021. 

March 25, 2021           Political Note #387 Mark Kelly US Senate Arizona

2022                              General Election

During the early stages of the pandemic, newspapers and television news would report on its epicenter in the United States.  Gradually, the disease spread so widely the idea of an epicenter became meaningless.

During the early stages of the post-President Trump Republican Party, newspapers and television news would report on the epicenter of Republican craziness.  Gradually, the disease spread so widely the idea of an epicenter became almost meaningless.  If there is an epicenter now, it is probably Arizona.

Disturbed (perhaps excited) by rumors about Presidential voting in the state, Arizona legislators thought they would settle the conversation about who really won Arizona by hiring a firm with a name that would ensure confidence and credibility – Cyber Ninja.  The audit has been conducted with the judiciousness and attention to detail you might expect from an organization apparently named in honor of the Northampton, MA imaginary crime-fighting characters – the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Arizona is going through a kind of change in life of which the presidential election audit is a symptom.  Fifty-seven years ago, Arizona’s US Senator Barry Goldwater, announced his candidacy for President.  Twenty-one years ago, Arizona’s US Senator John McCain announced. His candidacy for President.  Both were Republicans from a state that Republicans dominated.

Mark Kelly is running to be reelected as Arizona’s US Senator.   Republicans are still powerful in Arizona politics, not as powerful as they used to be.  The Secretary of State and the elected Superintendent of Public Instruction are Democrats.   Both of its US Senators are Democrats.  Five of its nine Members of Congress are Democrats.  Mark Kelly was elected in a special election in 2020 and is running for reelection in 2022.

Mark Kelly does not have deep roots in Arizona.  He was born a twin in West Orange, New Jersey.  The twins’ father was a paratrooper who retired to become a local cop.  Their mother was West Orange’s first female cop – particularly valued because she was a leader and because she could write literate reports.  Her twin sons lived the kind of parallel lives characteristic of many twins.  While attending the local high school, for instance, both worked as emergency medical technicians.

Mark Kelly went to the US Merchant Marine Academy.  Scott went to University of Maryland, Baltimore County, but transferred to the State University of New York’s Maritime College where he got his BA.  Both joined the Navy; both become naval aviators.  Mark Kelly was deployed to the Persian Gulf.  He flew combat missions in Operation Persian Storm.  Scott was in the Persian Gulf for a while as well, but then trained as a test pilot.

In 1995, both applied to and were accepted by NASA to become astronauts.  Both had distinguished careers at NASA. Both had complications in their personal lives.  Mark married in 1989, divorced in 2004.  In 2007, he was married by Rabbi Stephanie Aaron to Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.   Scott married in 1992, divorced in 2010. In 2018, he married Amiko Kauderer, a NASA Public Affairs Officer.   In 2007, both men were diagnosed with and treated successfully for prostate cancer.  Both men wrote and published books after ending their NASA careers.

Mark Kelly’s second marriage transformed his life.  At the time of his marriage, commenting on his relationship with Gabby Giffords, he said the longest time the two had been together was a couple of weeks.  He hoped that eventually that would change.

It changed in 2011.  Gabby Giffords was targeted for assassination. She was shot in the head and nearly killed. Six People were killed 17 others were shot and injured.  With considerable therapy and support from her husband, Gabby Giffords recovered much of her ability to walk and talk.  She was welcomed back to Congress with a standing ovation, but the damage was sufficient to prevent her from running for reelection.

Though he married a politician, Mark Kelly had not been particularly political. That changed after Gabby was shot and recovered. He developed two political commitments — to restore civility to politics and to reduce accessibility to guns in the United States.

In 2012, Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords created Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS) – a non-profit and a super PAC intended to support candidates committed to gun safety.  The organization supported Republicans committed to gun safety as well as Democrats.  In 2016, ARS shifted focus to providing legal assistance to elected officials regarding gun violence and merged with an existing California legal organization to become the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Mark Kelly extended his shift in focus toward electoral politics.  In 2020, he ran for the Senate against former Congresswoman and Senate appointee Martha McSally, the first woman fighter pilot to fly in combat and the first woman to command a fighter squadron.

Initially elected to Congress in 2014, Martha McSally ran for the open US Senate seat in 2016, losing to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.  Senator, John McCain died in 2018.  Former Senator John Kyle was appointed to replace him and served briefly. Martha McSally was appointed US Senator after John Kyle resigned.  As the incumbent, Martha McSally lost to Mark Kelly in 2020 by a 51.2% to 48.8% margin.

Electing Democrats in Arizona is an antidote to the craziness of the post-President Trump Republican Party.  Arizona has been a state for more than one hundred years and, along with the rest of the American West, is part of what defines modern America.  Phoenix is the country’s fifth largest city – edging out Philadelphia.  Like New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Texas, and western Colorado, Arizona is part of the territory acquired by the United States from Mexico in the 1840s and is heavily Hispanic — about 30% Hispanic. California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado have become or are becoming predominantly Democratic – not that anyone should take any election for granted.  Mark Kelly’s election can be part of making Arizona the next in line.

Mark Kelly has taken care not to be labeled left wing.  In addition to his interests in gun safety, he supported STEM education and opposed increasing the size of the US Supreme Court.  He expressed pride in the current state of American space exploration and promoted the importance of Arizonans getting the Covid-19 vaccination.  He served on committees consistent with his strengths – Armed Services (Chairing the subcommittee on emerging threats), Energy and Natural Resources, and the Environment and Public Works.

Mark Kelly has not been a Democratic maverick.  He voted to convict Donald Trump in the impeachment trials, would add a public option to the Affordable Care Act, and has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood. He is not an advocate for the filibuster.  We should be glad he’s in the Senate.  We certainly should be working to keep him there.  Like all of the competitive campaigns, Arizona will be expensive.  Help keep Mark Kelly in the US Senate.  Make a donation.

The Cook Report projects the following incumbent Democratic Senators as Likely, or Leaning Democrat for 2022 rather than Solidly Democratic. These are seats we have to defend.

 Arizona                     Mark Kelly (Likely D)

Georgia                     Raphael Warnock (Lean D)

Nevada                      Catherine Cortez Maestro (Likely D)

New Hampshire      Maggie Hassan (Likely D)

There are no Democratic retirements.

 As we learn who the Democratic candidates are, we can focus on helping them defeat Republican Targets. Protect endangered incumbents, then win some Republican seats.

 Alabama                   Richard Shelby is retiring.  The seat is Open (Solid R)

Florida                       Marco Rubio is a target (Likely R)

Missouri                    Roy Blunt is retiring. The seat is Open.  (Solid R)

North Carolina        Richard Burr is retiring. The seat is Open.  (Toss Up)

Ohio                           Rob Portman is retiring. The seat is Open.  (Lean R)

Pennsylvania          Pat Toomey is retiring. The seat is Open.  (Toss Up)

Wisconsin                Ron Johnson is a target (Lean R)

Organizations to support as well

 The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC)  The campaign arm of the Democratic US Senators.

 The Democratic National Committee (DNC).  The official organization of the Democratic Party.

Fair Fight Promotes fair elections around the country

Three Cautions while donating through Act Blue (most Democratic candidates use Act Blue for online donations)

  1. Take care to hit the donate button only once. If you hit it a second time, you could be charged for two donations instead of one.
  2. Take care to watch for an already clicked recurring donation. You can unclick it and donate only once if that is your intent.
  3. Watch for your receipt. If the receipt indicates a donation different from your intention, reply to Act Blue via the receipt right away.  They will fix your donation.  They want you to donate only what you intend to donate.


A Special Election Coming Up

On June 1, Melanie Stansbury will be running to replace Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in Congress, in NM 01.  Melanie Stansbury has moved from sociology doctorate program to advocating for expanding access to medical care and ending access to assault weapons.  A New Mexico State Rep, she had to work hard to obtain the Democratic nomination.  Do some work for her or give some money to her to ensure her election.  The special election is on June 1.

A Special Interest of Mine

If you live in Part A of the district, please support and vote for Rebecca Weintraub in the June 23 Democratic Primary.   If you know people who live in the district, please encourage them to vote for her,  New York City has its own small town politics.  Many of the readers of Lenspoliticalnotes are New Yorkers.  Some may live in or know people in Part A of Assembly District 76 (roughly east of 3rd Avenue and south of 79th Street to and including Roosevelt Island).

We and the other Democratic Club in District 76 are supporting Rebecca Weintraub’s candidacy to be one of four leaders of the 76th Assembly District — the female leader of Part A of Assembly District 76.  District Leaders are a kind of liaison between political parties and the community.  You can learn more about her at her Website or at Twitter @RSWinNYC or at Instagram /RSW_in_NYC or at Facebook /VoteRebeccatraub.  In her non-political life, she is Vice President of a public relations firm, mother of Benjamin, and wife of Evan.  In her political life, she has been an active member of our club, a leader in an innovative effort collecting video responses from NYC candidates for public office used to assess who to endorse and who to vote for.