Opinion: Why would U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego cede the Democratic Party nomination to Mark Kelly when he could also capably do the job?

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All eyes are now on U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego as a top contender to take on retired astronaut Mark Kelly for their party nomination to challenge Sen. Martha McSally in 2020.

“I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m looking seriously at running for the U.S. Senate in 2020, and that hasn’t changed. I’ll be making a final decision and announcement soon,” Gallego said on Facebook Tuesday after Kelly made his bid official.

A Gallego-Kelly face-off would be brutal and bruising in their quest to elect a second Democrat to the U.S. Senate from Arizona. They risk ending up like McSally, who hammered her way to the far-right to defeat her challengers in the primary only to lose in the general election.

ROBERTS: Mark Kelly is far more formidable than Ruben Gallego

Ideally for the Democratic Party, Gallego would clear the way for Kelly, who rose to fame as a gun control advocate after his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, survived an assassination attempt in 2011.

Kelly will have the money for sure. A group that promotes candidates with backgrounds on science, technology, engineering and math ran an ad campaign to convince to convince him to run.

Gallego could be good for the party, too

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Rep. Ruben Gallego speaks at a town hall at Congregational United Church of Christ in Phoenix on the need for increased gun control on April 14, 2018.

But then again, why should Gallego just give up? This is a case of putting party before personal political ambitions, some say.

However, the future of Arizona’s political representation shouldn’t be based on political parties alone but rather on who’s the best possible candidate to represent Arizona. And for that reason, Gallego should take on Kelly and anyone else who throws their hat in the ring.

Gallego is smart, and he can put that Harvard college brain to fight Kelly while not giving McSally an equivalent of a pink tutu to attack him – like she did unsuccessfully with Kyrsten Sinema.

Gallego, who in 2018 was elected to his third House term, would galvanize millennials who are more liberal and Arizona’s Latinos – a third of the state’s population.

It comes down to this. Why should smart, young politicians like Gallego clear the way for anybody when they can do the job, too?  

Elvia Díaz is an editorial columnist for The Republic and azcentral. Reach her at 602-444-8606 or elvia.diaz@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter, @elviadiaz1.

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