Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) decried freshman Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) as “missing in action” in the Senate and slammed his lack of leadership.
Kelly narrowly defeated incumbent Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) during the 2020 Senate elections. He promised to be a leader and independent from the Democrat or Republican parties during his Senate campaign.
“We need leadership in Washington that’s willing to put Arizonans first. That’s why I’m running — to be an independent voice for Arizona,” Kelly wrote in September:
We need leadership in Washington that’s willing to put Arizonans first. That’s why I’m running — to be an independent voice for Arizona. pic.twitter.com/m73XRReo2i
— Captain Mark Kelly (@CaptMarkKelly) September 10, 2020
The Arizona Democrat also promised last October, if elected, to serve neither as a Republican or a Democrat senator.
“If elected, I’m not going to be a Democratic senator or a Republican senator. I’ll be Ofelia’s senator. I’ll be your senator. I’ll be a senator for Arizona,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Arizona Republic.
However, despite Kelly’s claims, Ward, Gosar, and the NRSC cast Kelly as deeply partisan, a reliable voter for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“I certainly think there’s a lack of leadership from Sen. Mark Kelly. He’s very, very similar to [Sen.] Kyrsten Sinema [D-AZ]. He doesn’t wear candy-colored wigs, doing two thumbs downs, and doing curtsies in the Senate, but really, they’re two peas in a pod. I think he’s certainly been quieter; he has to be quiet because if he’s not quiet, his true colors will emerge, he will not take a public stand unless he’s forced,” Ward told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview Monday. “I remember, and I’m sure people in Arizona remember that the fake news media said that Mark Kelly was going to shake up the United States Senate. He was going to be a voice for Arizona, and that had not happened. I would say he’s missing in action, but there’s been no action. He’s just missing.”
She continued, “He supports Chuck Schumer. He supports Bernie Sanders; his voting record is 97 percent with those two all to the way to the socialist spectrum. It’s a shame for Arizona that we have two people that we can’t count on to represent us in the United States Senate. If you look at every issue before us right now, so Senate Bill 1, unconstitutional, blatant federal power grab, who’s sponsoring it, who’s cosponsoring it? Both of these guys, Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema.”
Gosar said that Kelly has faced to stand up to President Joe Biden’s handling of the migrant crisis at the border.