Kelly says he’d work to defeat a friend, Sen. Flake, if need be
April 16th, 2013
10:21 PM ET
10 years ago

Kelly says he’d work to defeat a friend, Sen. Flake, if need be

(CNN) - Mark Kelly, husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, said he might use their gun control advocacy group to work toward the ouster of Sen. Jeff Flake in 2018 if the Republican senator from Arizona votes against firearm legislation.

Flake, a former U.S. congressman, and Giffords are known as longtime friends, Kelly said.

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"You know friendship is one thing … saving people's lives, especially first-graders', is another," Kelly said at a Washington breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

His comments were recorded by C-SPAN.

Flake announced Monday night on his Facebook page he would oppose the bipartisan compromise reached last week on background checks, saying the deal could still be too intrusive on certain private transactions.

At the breakfast, Kelly labeled the timing of the post as "not ideal” but suggested he could still persuade Flake to join their side.

"He is a friend of Gabby's. I don't think this is over with him. We certainly haven't given up," he said. "I view him as a reasonable person. … I think we can get him to come around."

Kelly and Giffords were in town Tuesday to attend a dedication ceremony for a room at the Capitol named after Gabe Zimmerman, her former aide who died in the same mass shooting that wounded Giffords more than two years ago.

Kelly and Giffords launched the nonprofit group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, in January. The couple, both gun owners, have been advocates for tighter gun laws since the Newtown elementary school shooting that left 20 children and six adults killed.

Responding, Flake issued a statement through his office.

“I respect Gabby and Mark and their strong viewpoints on this issue,” the senator said.

Filed under: Gun control • Gun rights • Jeff Flake • Mark Kelly
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    This is a strong, committed couple... God Speed@

    April 16, 2013 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  2. JIM

    Why wait till 2018 to get rid of Flake? 8 out of 10 people in HIS DISTRICT are in favor of background checks...and Flake has decided to vote for the filibuster and not even allow a vote on the issue. Seems to me that Flake ought to read his job description-to represent the views and people of his district and state. Seems to me a recall is in order, as soon as possible. He's not doing the job he was elected to do.

    April 16, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  3. Will Beararms

    Knock yourself out starship trooper. Perhaps you should run against Flake.

    April 16, 2013 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  4. dh

    The Democrats are focused on the wrong solutions. We need to focus on mental health at the individual and soceitial level, not trying to restrict arbitrary gun features. How about making background checks available for public use so I can screen sellers myself in a private transaction?

    April 16, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  5. andi lee

    Until mental illness, including PTSD in our military (FED. FAIL!), free healthcare for all (why ARE we 37th in the world for healthcare?), the criminal mentality, is addressed, no law will work to prevent bad behavior, Gifford. Respect that, if you wont respect your friendship, or the cost of freedom.

    April 17, 2013 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  6. GI Joe

    I think the Senator's name defines him well - FLAKE.

    April 17, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  7. North Dallas Don

    Jeff Flake is entirely wrong on this issue. He may as well be the gunman the next time children are mowed down by 30 rounds fired inside of a minute. Senators such as he, as well as my own - Cornyn and Cruz - are disgusting "for sale to the NRA" senators who do not deserve the offices that they hold.

    April 17, 2013 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  8. Marie MD

    Maybe the flake from MN should have married this flake. The name suits them both!

    April 17, 2013 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  9. Name lynn

    Mark an flake dont lose friendship over the seat, try to work it out if you both can. The gun laws is tough words to work with now.

    April 17, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  10. TimM

    I know it is a little different, but this kind of sounds like something from some guy named Grover. If you don't switch to my side, I will put money against you during the next election. I'll bet there's no outrage from the left though.

    April 17, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  11. king

    i think Mark Kelly could be a very powerful politician if he wanted to. hes got a lot going for him, a astronaut, married to one of the most powerful woman in America, and an advocate for a cause that 90 percent of American wants, if i was any politician i would want him in my corner and not against me.

    April 17, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  12. 82nd ABN VET

    How about, he is free to vote how he wants. Granted, he should be voting the way of the people that elected him.

    Arizona is pretty Right leaning. So, he will most likely stick to his promise of voting against the measure.

    While Kelly will fight to have him replaced, the NRA will fight to keep him in place. I call it a draw, and it will come down to how many right leaning voters there are compared to left leaning voters.

    Pretty simple.

    April 17, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  13. Craig Mellor

    Gutter tactics on the part of Mr. Kelly.

    April 17, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |