The Latest: Mark Kelly kicks of Senate campaign

FILE- In this Nov. 12, 2018, file photo politician and gun control advocate Gabrielle Giffords and husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, attend the G

FILE- In this Nov. 12, 2018, file photo politician and gun control advocate Gabrielle Giffords and husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, attend the G

FILE- In this Oct. 2, 2017, file photo former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., right, listens as her husband Mark Kelly, left, speaks on Capitol Hill

FILE- In this Oct. 2, 2017, file photo former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., right, listens as her husband Mark Kelly, left, speaks on Capitol Hill

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on retired astronaut Mark Kelly launching his campaign for U.S. Senate in Arizona (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly is casting his Democratic campaign for U.S. Senate as a "mission for Arizona" as he kicks off his bid to finish John McCain's last term in Congress.

Kelly was introduced Saturday in Tucson by his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a gunshot wound to the head in a mass shooting during a constituent event in eight years ago.

Kelly told hundreds of supporters that he learned from his wife "how to use policy to improve people's lives."

Kelly is facing a potential challenge for the Democratic nomination from Congressman Ruben Gallego. Kelly casts himself as a centrist and says focusing on partisanship will make it hard to solve big problems.

Arizona has long been a Republican stronghold, but Democrats made big inroads in 2018.

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8 a.m.

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly is kicking off his U.S. Senate campaign Saturday with a rally in Tucson, Arizona.

Kelly is the first Democrat to enter the 2020 race. The seat is now held by Republican Martha McSally, a former congresswoman and Air Force pilot who was appointed by Arizona's GOP governor after longtime Sen. John McCain died.

Next year's election will decide who finishes the final two years of McCain's term. It's expected to be closely contested, with Arizona increasingly competitive after decades of Republican dominance.

Kelly plans an appearance a downtown hotel about 9 miles from the grocery store where his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head during a constituent event in 2011 while she was a congresswoman. Six people were killed in the attack.