The latest on the race for U.S. Senate from Arizona

Will a Sanders nomination sink Mark Kelly? Gun-control groups launch campaign against McSally

Mark Kelly. /Photo by Gage Skidmore / Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

By Julie Erfle and Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

Opinion: (Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are published for discussion purposes only.)

Will a Sanders nomination sink Mark Kelly?

The number one question posed by Arizona political reporters of late is whether a Bernie Sanders nomination spells doom for Mark Kelly, the presumptive Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

The answer is a resounding no.

A number of pundits believe Sanders harms Kelly because Sanders is just too liberal for purple Arizona. They audibly gasped when Kelly said he’d support Sanders if he became the eventual Democratic nominee, and worried Kelly’s independent image would be tarnished by having Sanders at the top of the ticket. 

Critics insist the only way Mark Kelly can defeat Republican Martha McSally is if he follows Senator Krysten Sinema’s campaign playbook to a tee, refusing to endorse anyone in the presidential contest and remaining as politically neutral as possible.

But that analysis makes several dubious assumptions.

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Related: Ariz. senators to vote on Betsy DeVos’ contentious student loan rule

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s Grand Canyon love is radioactive for Sen. Martha McSally

Martha McSally speaks at a 2018 primary election night gathering on Aug. 28, 2018 in Tempe.
/Photo by Justin Sullivan /Getty Images

Gun-control groups launch campaign against McSally

The gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety is spending $43,000 on Facebook and newspaper ads targeting GOP Sen. Martha McSally over gun control measures, specifically one bill that has been languishing in the Senate for a year. 

“Dear Senator McSally, over 1,000 Arizonans have died from gun violence in the year since the U.S. House passed H.R. 8, a bill that would require background checks on all gun sales,” the Facebook ad says. “But you’ve refused to act.” 

Last year, the House passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. The measure has five Republican co-sponsors and eight Republicans voted for the measure. 

Now, H.R. 8 is sitting in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has continued to delay a vote on the bill.

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