Arizona Senate candidate Mark Kelly gave us a good indication of the state of the Democratic Party this weekend now that Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) is the bonafide frontrunner in the 2020 presidential primary. Kelly, who's running to unseat Republican Sen. Martha McSally in November, can't give a straight answer as to whether he'll support a democratic socialist for president.
CBS 5 Arizona's Family reporter Dennis Welch first tried to get an answer out of Kelly on air on Friday.
"Bernie Sanders wins," Welch said, giving Kelly a hypothetical. "Are you going to support someone who describes himself as a democratic socialist?"
“It appears that Mr. Kelly is giving 3 different answers.”— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) February 15, 2020
Yikes. Arizona Democrat Senate candidate Mark Kelly — largely missing from media up to this point— struggles to answer whether he would support socialist Bernie Sanders.
On *3rd try* says he WILL support Sanders. #AZpol pic.twitter.com/kc3iuu7VLZ
"Well, he's got to win first," Kelly responded. "And when we get there we'll see, how was this campaign conducted? And at some point, and at some point in the future I'll make a decision."
Welch pressed Kelly for a more concrete answer in regards to where he stands on the whole democratic socialist ID tag, especially now that Sanders has won both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary.
"I'm a capitalist," Kelly reacted.
But Kelly's story isn't exactly consistent. When asked the same Bernie question by a local newspaper, he confidently said he'd "ultimately support who the nominee is of the Democratic Party." Welch followed up with Kelly's campaign after reading those remarks, and they told him that it was the candidate's "intention" to support the eventual Democratic nominee.
If you're keeping count, those are three different answers. Welch admitted that it was "murky" and "a little bit confusing."
Republican senator Ted Cruz summed up Kelly's narrative in three words.
Kinda a mess. https://t.co/KbCt69SzoL— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 16, 2020
Kelly was an astronaut before he decided to run for office. He is husband to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who was shot in the head at point-blank range in 2011 in a supermarket parking lot and now speaks out in support of gun control. Together the pair founded the organization Americans for Responsible Solutions.