Kelly defeated Republican Senator Martha McSally in a special election by more than 78,000 votes.
A retired naval captain and NASA astronaut, Kelly, was widely considered one of the Democratic Party’s strongest recruits of 2020. He is married to the former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot and nearly killed in 2011 and is now a leader in the movement. against gun violence.
McSally was appointed by Republican Doug Ducey, a Republican, to fill the seat previously held by the late Senator John McCain, after she narrowly lost a race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema for Arizona̵
7;s second Senate seat in 2018.
With Kelly’s election, the battle over which party controls the chamber depends on the outcome of two Senate elections in Georgia taking place in January.
Kelly and his identical twin brother, Scott, were elected astronauts in 1996.
The elected senator flew his first mission into space in 2001 aboard the space shuttle Endeavor, and he completed three more missions. Kelly, 56, also spent more than 50 days in space and lived on the International Space Station before retiring from NASA in 2011.
Kelly fought for improved gun safety legislation, improved services for veterans and quality hygiene for Arizonians. In 2013, he and Giffords co-founded Giffords, an organization that aims to prevent guns after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.