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Democrat Mark Kelly Sworn In As New Senator From Arizona

Democrat Mark Kelly was sworn into the U.S. Senate on Wednesday afternoon.
Courtney Pedroza
Getty Images
Democrat Mark Kelly was sworn into the U.S. Senate on Wednesday afternoon.

Former astronaut Mark Kelly was sworn in as the new U.S. senator from Arizona on Wednesday, after flipping the highly prized Senate seat for Democrats last month.

Vice President Mike Pence officiated the ceremony, as is customary in his role as president of the Senate.

Kelly's defeat of Republican Martha McSally in November's special election was one of the most closely watched Election Day races, as Democrats had been attempting for years to push the state further blue.

Kelly was able to take his oath of office in December, as opposed to other incoming senators who will be sworn into office in January. Kelly's freshman term, ending in 2022, fills the remaining term of late-Sen. John McCain, who died of brain cancer in 2018.

Kelly took the Senate oath alongside his wife, Gabby Giffords, a gun-safety advocate and former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona. Giffords served in the House until a 2011 assassination attempt caused her resignation the next year.

Kelly, who brings to the Senate experience in both the military and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will trim Republicans' Senate majority to 52-48.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.