The Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona was just connected to a Chinese Spy scandal but it probably won’t hurt his election chances much. It could have an effect, maybe a major one, but not in the way everyone would expect. There’s only one thing that matters to Arizona’s conservative independent voters in this cycle, the outcome of the GOP primary.
A miracle for underdog Republican candidate
Martha McSally has nothing to gain from Mark Kelly’s alleged Chinese spy connections, but the news is a miracle to the underdog in the Republican primary race. If McSally the RINO is chosen to face Mark Kelly in November, conservative Independent and Libertarian voters have become “unreasonable” enough to elect Kelly, even if he is a Chinese spy. Another candidate, Daniel McCarthy, has everything to gain and the news could be just the blessing he needs to edge him into the Senate. If, and only if, his name is on the ballot by election day – instead of McSally’s. The best thing that he has going for him is that he’s a right-leaning conservative.
During his career, Mark Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, was employed by aerospace company World View Enterprises, based in Tucson. The problem is that a major funding source for the company is Tencent, “a wealthy internet conglomerate closely associated with the Communist Chinese government.” Their CEO is “the richest man in China.” Kelly was director of flight crew operations for them when World View’s CEO visited “Beijing to obtain funding for the company” in December of 2013. The candidate on the Democrat side has his past is coming back to haunt him, but it will only matter if McSally isn’t around in November.
World View got a write up in Wired for their plan to “bring tourists on a balloon ride to the middle of the stratosphere by 2016.” The Chinese thought that would also make a nifty surveillance platform. Jane Poynter was a “personal friend” of Kelly’s when “it was revealed that Tencent was funding World View.” While she was in Beijing, they wrote her a check for $7.1 million to get the ball rolling. Now that he’s a candidate for Senate, he’s regretting the connections. Dan McCarthy is hoping for a chance to exploit it to his advantage.
Exchanged ideas on technology
China definitely had a hand in the development of the project. Chinese news reports reveal that “David Wallerstein, chairman of Tencent USA, ‘has already met with one of World View’s pilots and exchanged ideas on technology.'” That pilot would be none other than candidate Mark Kelly. The company got another $15 million in capitol from Tencent and others in April of 2016.
Some of that Chinese currency made it’s way into the campaign coffers of candidate Kelly. His “U.S. Senate campaign has received $5,000 from Wallerstein.” Tencent’s chairman is also responsible for his country’s “operations outside mainland China and overseeing business initiatives with multinational partners.” While he hasn’t been mentioned in recent reports, he may have been one of the spies involved with the Chinese Consulate in Houston, Texas.
Pima County forked over some taxpayer money to World View without knowing anything about the Chinese funding and now they aren’t happy about it. Candidate Kelly might get caught in some of the blowback from that. Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller “inquired about their investors and their business plan” when they asked for “a $14.5 million investment package from the county.” They “did not reveal anything about any financial information.” According to Miller, “It wasn’t until those recent articles came out in May, that’s when I found out they had Chinese investment.”