Opinion: McSally vs Kelly's AZ Senate Debate Tonight Shines Spotlight on Arizona

AP Photo/Matt York, File
AP featured image
Politician and gun control advocate Gabrielle Giffords and husband retired astronaut Mark Kelly attend the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Spring Studios on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)


For the next few days, it might seem like the political world has relocated to the Western half of the country. First off, there’s Vice President Mike Pence and Democrat vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris duking it out in Salt Lake City Wednesday night in the only Veep debate for 2020. As you may know, I think the Left is delusional to think Harris can beat Pence in that bout. Then both campaigns will be traveling to Arizona Thursday to begin the last leg of the general election campaign.

VP Pence will be in Peoria, as my colleague Mike Miller shared in a Sunday piece on “Operation MAGA,” the new Trump campaign strategy in the wake of the president’s COVID diagnosis and quarantine. But there are scant details on where Harris and Biden will be campaigning, beyond the fact that they’ll be within the state’s borders. Well, at least we’re on equal footing with Biden, on that count… He has no idea where he is right now.

But back up a smidge. The high spotlight of attention swings west much sooner than that. In just about an hour, one of the most-watched Senate races in the country kicks into high gear with the sole debate between incumbent Sen. Martha McSally (R) and challenger Mark Kelly (D) in the Special Election to fill the late Sen. John McCain’s seat through 2022. McSally was appointed to the seat by Governor Doug Ducey (R) in late 2018.

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Sen. Martha McSally (AP Photo/Matt York, File)


I pointed out in my piece Sunday that three of businessman Kelly’s former astronaut peers had no problem endorsing McSally — and roundly dissing the gun-grabbing wannabe. You may have seen the new expose by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas on the ultra-progressive stuff his campaign staffers wish Kelly would talk about on the trail… but isn’t, because he wants to get elected first. (See my Townhall Media colleague Stephen Kruiser’s PJ Media piece: New Project Veritas Video Reveals Mark Kelly’s REAL Anti-Gun Agenda for Arizona)

Not wanting the voters to know your far-left agenda before they elect you… Sounds awful familiar, doesn’t it?

Another issue for Kelly is his business connections with Tencent, a Chinese company that Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley have called out as “an arm of the Chinese Communist Party and a threat to U.S. national security,” as Real Clear Politics has reported:

Kelly, however, has been far more reticent about the investment by a Chinese company in a commercial space exploration venture he co-founded.  The company, tech giant Tencent, is one of the world’s largest internet enterprises and owns the Chinese social media platform WeChat. The text platform has more than a billion users and is suspected of monitoring the activity of many of them inside and outside of China.

In the fall of 2014, the CEO of World View Enterprises, the company Kelly co-founded, announced during a visit to Beijing that Tencent had invested an undisclosed sum of money in the Tucson-based space travel venture.


Tencent was already under intense U.S. scrutiny before the COVID-19 world crisis. In addition to the surveillance suspicions, Tencent also sparked a U.S. backlash for suspending its streaming of National Basketball Association games after the Houston Rockets’ general manager praised Hong Kong democracy protests last fall.

Now it’s radioactive. A recent University of Toronto study found that WeChat has been censoring keywords relating to the COVID-19 outbreak since at least Jan. 1. Several prominent lawmakers in recent weeks have deemed Tencent an arm of the Chinese Communist Party and a threat to U.S. national security. Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley in late April introduced a bill aimed at preventing Chinese espionage by prohibiting U.S. federal employees from conducting official business over platforms run by Tencent, Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese companies and barring U.S. tax dollars from being used for any international contracts with those firms.


Let’s just call Kelly the CCP Astronaut. It’s kind fun…and gets the point across, right?

In addition to the Senate debate, Arizonans are awaiting a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as I reported Tuesday morning, on an appeal filed by the NRSC and the RNC after two judicial activist non profits sued the state’s Secretary of State over the deadline for voter registrations (which would have lapsed Monday). A U.S. District Court judge ordered the state to accept registrations for 18 additional days — almost three weeks. Having that much more time for Democrats to monkey around with votes in my state makes me nervous, since it’s not just about Arizona. I don’t have to remind readers that a win or a loss by McSally (and President Trump) here could have larger implications for the nation in the years to come.

The 90-minute Arizona debate event begins at 10 EDT/7 MST and PDT tonight, and you can watch it here on Arizona Public Media’s (our NPR/PBS) website or on the KJZZ.org (NPR) radio station’s livestream here.


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