Crowd of Democrats jockey over Arizona Senate special

Mark Kelly, the former astronaut and Navy veteran married to former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who is laying the foundation for a potential campaign.

 

Four candidates are laying groundwork for campaigns, and two are already sparring, which could signal a long and difficult primary in 2020

By James Arkin | POLITICO

Arizona Democrats like their chances to beat Martha McSally again in 2020. But they may have to settle a long and crowded Senate primary first.

Four Democrats have already started laying the groundwork for Senate special election campaigns, meeting with party leaders and even sparring over their credentials — even before McSally was appointed to fill the next two years of the late Sen. John McCain’s term. The party believes McSally will be vulnerable after losing a tough campaign to Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema in 2018.

It’s possible the Democratic field would clear if Democrats land a candidate they have coveted for years: Mark Kelly, the former astronaut and Navy veteran married to former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who is laying the foundation for a potential campaign. But if not, a big primary could put the Democratic nominee in the same position as McSally was in 2018: trading intraparty attacks until the end of August 2020, just weeks before mail voting starts in the general election, in one of the most important states in the fight for the Senate majority. Two potential candidates are already criticizing each other’s credentials before even entering the race.

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