ARIZONA (Fwrd Axis) — Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly won re-election after defeating Blake Masters in the Arizona Senate race on Friday night, putting Democrats on the brink of retaining control of the U.S. Senate.
Kelly’s projected victory comes just three days after the polls closed and the latest ballot dump pushed Kelly past Masters, a Trump-endorsed Republican. The victory also gives Democrats 49 Senate seats, one short of securing a majority with Nevada and Georgia’s races yet to be called.
“Thank you to the people of Arizona for re-electing me to the United States Senate,” Kelly said in a statement. “From day one, this campaign has been about the many Arizonans — Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — who believe in working together to tackle the significant challenges we face.”
Kelly ran as a moderate, breaking with President Joe Biden on key issues such as immigration and vowed to protect abortion rights and build on Democrats’ achievements. He won moderates over Masters by a margin of 63% to 33% and independents by a margin of 55% to 39%. Among women, Kelly led by 12 points and lost men by 4 points.
Masters was hurt by an ugly primary battle and attempted to connect Kelly to Biden on key issues like immigration and abortion. In a statement on Saturday morning, Masters called for all the votes to be counted.
“If, at the end, Senator Kelly has more of them than I do, then I will congratulate him on a hard-fought victory. But voters decide, not the media; let’s count the votes,” Masters said.
Inflation was the top issue for 36% of voters and Abortion was close behind for 32% of voters.
Kelly was elected in a 2020 special election. His victory gives him a full six-year term for the seat that Republican Sen. John McCain held prior to his death. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema is up for re-election in 2024.