From his Essex County childhood to exploring space — and now to the campaign trail. Mark Kelly has stepped into the political ring.

On Tuesday, Kelly launched a campaign for the 2020 United States Senate special election in Arizona. He is running as a Democrat for the Senate seat left vacant after the death of Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain.

The Navy combat veteran is husband to Gabby Giffords, the former congresswoman who survived being shot in the head at a public event in 2011. Kelly has two grown daughters, Claudia and Claire, from his first marriage.

Mark Kelly and his twin brother, Scott Kelly, were born in Orange and grew up in West Orange. They graduated from Mountain High School in 1982 and later became NASA astronauts.

In 2016, their former hometown honored the inspirational identical twins by renaming Pleasantdale Elementary School as the Kelly Elementary School.

Mark and Scott Kelly both were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2018.

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