Washington — Mark Kelly, a Democrat who defeated incumbent Republican Senator Martha McSally in the Arizona Senate race earlier this month, will be sworn in Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET, according to a senior Democratic aide.
Kelly and McSally went head-to-head in a special election November 3 to determine who will finish the remainder of the late Senator John McCain’s six-year term, which ends in 2022. McCain, a Republican, died in 2018, and McSally was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey.
Kelly’s win over McSally flipped a key seat for Democrats, who are working to take control of the Senate and give the party full control of two branches of government in Washington. But whether Democrats are successful in wrestling the majority from the GOP will not be determined until early January with the results of two runoff elections in Georgia, where incumbent Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are vying to hold their seats.
Still, once Kelly is sworn in as a U.S. senator this week, Democrats will hold 48 seats to Republicans’ 52. His victory also gives Democrats both of Arizona’s Senate seats for the first time in nearly 70 years. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who defeated McSally in 2018, holds the other seat.
A former astronaut, Kelly flew four space shuttle missions between 2001 and 2011. He also served as a pilot in the U.S. Navy and is married to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords was shot in the head and severely wounded during a 2011 shooting at a meet-and-greet event in Tucson. In the wake of the shooting, Giffords has become an advocate for gun control.