"I am interested in people, I am interested in the state of Arizona, I am interested in this nation, so I decided that I am launching a campaign for the United States Senate," Kelly said in a video released on Tuesday announcing his run as a democratic candidate.
Kelly, 54, is the husband of former Gabby Giffords, D-Arizona, who survived a shootout in 2011. The two appeared together in Kelly's video ad, telling how difficult it was in their lives and the rehabilitation of Giffords from the gunshot wound.
"I learned a lot from being an astronaut, I learned a lot from being a pilot in the navy, I learned a lot about solving problems from being an engineer", says Kelly in the campaign video . "But what I learned from my wife is how you use politics to improve people's lives."
Since being released by NASA, Kelly has been a supporter of arms control. Both he and his wife formed the organization now called Giffords in 201
In his campaign announcement, Kelly highlights climate change, affordable health care, wage stagnation, employment growth and the economy as problems that Arizonians will face.
"We have seen this withdrawal from science, data and facts," he says.
In an 'e-mail to supporters, Kelly said he intends to reject the CAP money.
"Our struggle to improve our arms laws and my commitment to tackle climate change and end the scandalous influence of corporate money on our politics means that there are a lot of powerful interests that they want stop, "he wrote.
Kelly took her first space mission in 2001. She completed three more missions, spent more than 50 days in space and lived on the International Space Station before retiring from NASA in 2011. She has an identical twin brother, Scott Kelly, who is also a retired NASA astronaut who has spent an unprecedented year on the ISS.
As a Navy combat pilot, Kelly was deployed during the Gulf War and flew 39 combat missions, according to his campaign page.
Kelly jumps into what will surely be a competitive race vying for the late Republican Senator John McCain. McCain won re-election in 2016, but died in August for brain cancer. Former Rep. Dell & Arizona Arizona Martha McSally has been nominated to occupy the seat until the special elections of 2020. The poll will be put to the vote for a full six-year term in 2022.
Dan Merica of CNN contributed to this report.