McSally smears her opponent for caring about gun control after his wife was shot


Mark Kelly and his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, founded an organization to fight gun violence in 2013.

Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) on Wednesday used an op-ed for Fox News to attack her Democratic opponent for the Senate, Mark Kelly, for his work in establishing "one of the most sophisticated political organizations in the country, aimed squarely at infringing on our Second Amendment rights."

The organization, unnamed by McSally in the article, is called Giffords, after its founder and Kelly's wife, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011. Kelly and Giffords founded the organization, which works against gun violence, after she was shot in the head at an event near Tucson, and, more immediately, after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut at the end of 2012.

It's the second time McSally has tried to make Kelly's involvement with the gun control organization an issue in her bid to serve out the remainder of the late Sen. John McCain's term.

At a debate earlier this month, McSally brought up Kelly's work for the group, but was coy about mentioning its' name. McSally called Giffords a "radical political organization" with ties to the "extreme left," according to the Arizona Republic.

When moderators asked her to clarify what group she was talking about, McSally said, "I think he knows."

Kelly fired back: "Gabby was injured, shot in the head, in 2011. The issue of gun violence is personal for Gabby and me, and I'll never forget what she went through for that year and a half. In the hospital for six months, a year of significant rehab …  So we formed an organization to try to make communities, and help communities become safer from gun violence."

McSally lost a Senate bid in 2018 to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake. However, she was appointed by Arizona's Republican governor to McCain's seat after he died — despite the fact that Arizonans had just rejected her candidacy.

And she's struggled to gain traction in her effort to win the Senate seat she now holds.

McSally has led in just one public poll since July, and is currently losing to Kelly by 4.4 points, according to RealClearPolitics' polling average.

McSally has also struggled to explain her support for Donald Trump, who polls show is also losing in the state.

At a debate in early October, McSally refused to say whether she's proud to support Trump.

Nonpartisan political handicappers say McSally is an underdog in the contest, with Inside Elections rating the race "tilt Democratic" and FiveThirtyEight giving McSally just a 21% chance of winning.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.