Jesse Kelly - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Jesse Kelly

No time to drink coffee when it's hot

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Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:14 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Jesse Kelly didn't have enough time to finish his coffee, at least while it was still hot.

The Republican nominee for U.S. Congress in District 8, challenging two-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the Nov. 2 election, was in his campaign office behind a closed door with a note telling people not to enter.

On the other side of that door, Kelly was signing thank-you cards for his donors and supporters. His signature is short, but it has to be in order to get through the three-inch stack of cards on his desk.

Alternating between a bottle of water and his large-sized Starbucks coffee, Kelly speaks candidly with family and team members as he readies himself for a public appearance outside of his campaign office, located on the southwest corner of First Avenue and Wetmore Road. He laughs and jokingly throws a quote from the movie "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."

"People know me, I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany," he quips.

A few people in the office laugh. He goes back to signing his cards.

When asked questions about his political campaign, Kelly does not joke. His back straightens, he pulls in his chin and he is very direct about why he is the best candidate for the job.

"I believe in lower government spending, limited taxes, limited government, border security and the constitution of the United States of America," Kelly said. "Gabrielle Gifford believes in bailing out Wall Street with taxpayer money and a stimulus bill that crushed employment in this country, Obamacare, cap and trade, card check, and she opposes SB1070."

He knows his answers and he doesn't stumble with getting to the point. He is completely comfortable talking about why he believes he's the better choice.

Kelly's suit jacket, conversely, is a little hot and uncomfortable. He reluctantly puts it on, ducks his head through the doorway, and the 6-foot-8-inch candidate heads outside. He is greeted with handshakes and applause. A couple people get in his ear to tell them why he is the right person for the job. Usually these people will be seen later posing for a photo taken with a cell phone of them beside Kelly.

Twenty minutes later, after he has spoken and met with some of the volunteers in attendance, Kelly makes his way back into his office, finishes what has to be a room-temperature coffee and makes his way over to the volunteer center. The room is buzzing with people making phone calls, asking voters for their support in the upcoming election, and informing voters how he distinguishes himself from Giffords.

"The differences between us are night and day," Kelly said. "I believe the American people should have the freedom to purchase whatever kind of health care they so choose. Gabrielle Giffords believes the government should have the authority to fine or imprison the American people if they don't purchase the government-run health care that Gabrielle Giffords deems necessary."

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