Captain Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and husband to former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, has won one of the two U.S. Senate Special Elections to fill the remaining time of the late Sen. John McCain’s 2017-2022 term. He will join current Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in the Senate, both as Democrats, for the state of Arizona. This will be the first time Arizona has had two Democratic senators in the U.S. Senate since 1952.
With 99% precincts reporting statewide as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Kelly won 52% of the vote.
The race between incumbent Sen. Martha McSally and Kelly has been one of the most closely watched this election season, as partisan control of the U.S. Senate will be affected by the winner of Arizona. Both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have been targeting the state, running ads for each of the candidates. The battleground race between McSally and Kelly has been the third-most expensive Senate race in the country with Kelly raising $90 million to McSally’s $57 million. Kelly led McSally in polls since August by a 5 point average margin.
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“I’m running for the United States Senate because Washington is broken and Arizonans deserve independent leadership focused on solving the problems we face,” is the main quote featured on Kelly’s website on his motivation for running. Most of Kelly’s platform has been run on him leaning independent, rather than strongly Republican or Democratic, though he is running as a Democratic candidate.
Issues Kelly highlighted to voters in ads and on his site included healthcare, Medicare, economy, jobs and veterans. While he supports more liberal ideas including the public health option, ending tax breaks and the opposition of the proposed cuts to Medicare, he also strongly supports things important to Arizonans including veteran aid and the protection of our borders.
McSally, a former congresswoman, lost the Senate general election in 2018 to Kyrsten Sinema by 2 points, but was elected by Gov. Doug Ducey after Sen. Jon Kyl’s resignation from his interim position filled for the late Senator McCain in 2018.
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