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Mark Kelly announces run for McCain Senate seat in Arizona

AP  |  Phoenix (US) 

Retired Mark Kelly, who rocketed to the national spotlight when his Congresswoman wife was shot in a failed assassination attempt, announced Tuesday he's running to finish John McCain's last term in the U.S.

Kelly is a top Democratic recruit to take on Republican in one of the most closely contested races of the 2020 election.

McSally is a former Republican congresswoman who was appointed to McCain's seat last year after she narrowly lost to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.

McSally leaned heavily on her record as the first woman to fly a combat mission as a fighter pilot, but she was hurt by her embrace of

If Kelly is nominated, the race would pit a Navy veteran and against a trailblazing pilot in the contest to replace McCain, a legendary Navy flyer who was famously shot down and held captive.

are eagerly watching the contest, having already defeated McSally in a race just a few months ago.

Kelly and have for years pushed to enact gun control measures with little success.

They shifted their focus to state in recent years, helping to strengthen background checks and domestic violence protections, among other modest protections Gov. appointed McSally to the vacant Senate seat after his first appointee, former Sen. Jon Kyl, resigned after only a few months in office.

The seat is a top target for because McSally just lost a in November and posted a strong showing in the November election, winning three statewide contests and picking up legislative and congressional seats.

The 2020 election will decide who finishes the last two years of McCain's term.

The winner would have to run again for a full six-year term in 2022.

U.S. Rep. of is also considering a Senate run, which would likely set up a tough fight for the Democratic nomination.

Former Grant Woods, a lifelong Republican who became a Democrat and a fierce critic of Trump, announced last week that he won't run, saying he didn't want to fight in a contested

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 12 2019. 20:20 IST