Kelly wins in Arizona, pushes Democrats closer to retaining Senate


senator. Mark Kelly (D) is expected to win re-election for Republican Blake Masters in Arizona on Friday, increasing Democrats’ chances of maintaining control of the Senate in two years.

The victory gives Democrats their 49th Senate seat, just short of the 50 they need to take control of the House of Representatives, where Vice President Harris has the power to break ties. Republicans, who have won 49 seats, must now flip seats in Nevada and Georgia to seize control of the House of Representatives.

While Georgia’s race won’t end until the December runoff, Democrats are cautiously optimistic they can secure a majority soon before more mail-in ballots are counted in a tight race in Nevada. seats.

Regardless of the outcome of the House, Democrats’ control of the Senate will give Biden some leverage on his Capitol Hill agenda, which the House also remains unresolved late Friday. Republican control of the Senate will further complicate Biden’s agenda for the next two years, making it possible for Republicans to slow or block confirmations of Biden’s cabinet officials and judges.

Republicans need only one seat to gain control of the upper chamber of Congress entering the midterm elections, which is evenly split this year. Their path to victory narrowed on election night as Democrats flipped a key Senate seat in Pennsylvania, the Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fettman (D) defeated celebrity doctor Mohammad Oz, another Republican nominee pushed by former President Donald Trump in the primary.

The Arizona State game is one of the most competitive games of the year. Former astronaut Kelly defeated venture capitalist Masters after an expensive race in which Democrats positioned themselves as a moderate willing to work across the aisle. Some Republicans are pessimistic about their chances in purple states this fall, as Democrats outspend them and maintain a significant lead among independents. But opinion polls showed the race tightened in the closing stages.

Late Friday, Kelly led nearly 6 percent with more than 80 percent of the vote.

Arizona once seemed ripe for the Republican rise, especially with high inflation and the state’s backlash against the Biden administration’s border policies. Masters tried to cast Kelly as a rubber stamp for Biden. But like many other races this year, Democrats have prevailed despite the intimidating political environment, painting their opponents as extremists and fueling their anger over the new abortion ban. Roe v. Wade.

Masters won the nomination with Trump’s backing and a $15 million backing from friend and mentor, tech billionaire Peter Thiel. He responded to the former president’s false claims about the 2020 election in a campaign ad that Trump won. As a first-time candidate, Masters quickly sparked some anxiety in the Republican Party, whose candidates were underperforming in key races.

The Senate Leadership Fund, a group aligned with senators. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (right) began dropping out of the race weeks after the primary — even though other Republican groups ended up helping the Masters compete on television with Kelly, one of the Senate’s best fundraisers.

Masters criticized McConnell during the primaries and reiterated that criticism this week, calling McConnell and the Republican establishment “incompetent” on Fox News.

“If he chooses to spend money in Arizona, the game is over,” Masters said. “We are now celebrating a Senate majority.”

Masters gave Democrats an opening in the summer debate, when he mused about privatizing Social Security. Democrats also spent heavily to underscore his evolving comments on abortion, as he dropped calls for a sweeping “Federal Personality Act” in the general election and backed a proposed national ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Kelly’s campaign has created and tested negative ads for the Masters until Aug. 2. Kelly’s aide said 3 elementary and found that the strongest ads used the master’s own language, particularly ads about abortion and Social Security. In August, when Masters’ resources were limited and Republican groups had few TV bookings to back him, Kelly’s campaign used the vacuum to dramatically increase its TV budget.

Internally, this tactic is known as “surge” — a bet that it pays to spend resources early because it helps define the Masters for general election voters.

Unfavorable ratings for the Masters jumped from 35 percent to 48 percent in Kelly’s campaign polls conducted between late July and early September, aides said, asking not to be identified as describing private strategic decisions. Masters himself laid out the Democrats’ strategy, speaking at a meeting in August. 19 Radio interview: “They want to nuke me, you know, they want to kill the baby in the crib here.”

At the same time, Kelly’s ad was aimed at promoting his brand as an independent-minded Democrat and trying to distance himself from Biden on the border. His first commercial tackled the financial hardship caused by inflation by telling the story of his upbringing as the son of two police officers.

“From day one, this campaign has revolved around many Arizonans — Democrats, independents and Republicans — who believe in working together to address the big challenges we face,” Kelly said in Friday’s speech. A statement was issued after the campaign ended.

Masters’ campaign had no comment on Friday night when asked if he would admit it.

Masters’ campaign’s fundraising appeal on Thursday did not allege wrongdoing, but argued that “some of the issues we’ve seen in this election are troubling.” It added, “We expect a controversial move forward. Roads and legal battles are coming.”

On Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show Friday night, Masters went further, claiming without providing evidence that Maricopa County, home to more than half of Arizona’s voters, was twice “confused” vote. A campaign spokesperson did not respond to a request for evidence of the claims, and a county spokesperson did not immediately respond.

In Georgia, Senator. Raphael G. Warnock (D) has a slight lead over Republican candidate Herschel Walker, a former football player. But neither candidate met the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid runoff.

Also in Arizona, Democrat Adrian Fontes is expected to win the race for secretary of state, beating Republican Mark Finchem, a far-right state legislator seeking to oversee the Arizona election, while Unfounded push to cancel the 2020 election results.

Finchem is one of several Republican nominees for secretary of state who have campaigned on Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. If elected, he will serve as the battleground state’s top election official in 2024. The Secretary of State certifies statewide election results.

“We know that Republicans and independents are interested in the truth,” Fontes said in an interview after the campaign. “We know they’re not interested in lies. What it says is that democracy, at least for now, will survive in this republic.”

In Nevada, where votes are still being counted, Senator. On Friday, Kathryn Cortez Masto (D) narrowly trailed Republican candidate Adam Laxalter, a former state attorney general. But Democrats are seeing encouraging signs that mail-in ballots from urban areas will catch up to her.

While Republicans have long hoped to retake the House of Representatives, they have yet to achieve that goal, but they face a more uncertain battle in the Senate. Republicans retained contested seats in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin in Tuesday’s election, while Democratic incumbents won in Colorado, New Hampshire and Washington.

Republicans need just five seats to secure a majority in the House and have expressed confidence they will win there. But their gains so far have not reached the red wave, paving the way for a minority, in which case the leadership will need the more unified support of an often ill-timed caucus to shape their agenda.

Republican Joe Lombardo is also expected to replace the Democratic governor. Steve Sisolak handed the Republicans their first pick in this election cycle’s gubernatorial race on Friday in Nevada.

In a statement released Friday night ahead of the race, Sisolak said “it looks like we’re going to be about a percentage point short of winning” and that he believes in “our electoral system, democracy and respect for the will of Nevada voters.” He pointed to the struggles of the past four years — including the pandemic and inflation — and said he reached out to Lombardo in hopes of his success.

During the campaign, Clark County Sheriff Lombardo, which includes Las Vegas, criticized Sisolak’s handling of crime, education and the coronavirus pandemic. He said he would be a “pro-life governor” but sought to downplay the issue and said he would follow “the people’s vote” as Sisolak accused him of changing sides for political convenience.

“Our victory is a victory for all Nevadans who want our state to get back on track,” Lombardo said in a statement Friday night. “This is a victory for small business owners, parents, students and law enforcement.”

Lombardo’s victory marked the GOP’s first governorship in a year, when many Democratic incumbents defied GOP hopes to set off a red tide with victories in tight races in Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas and Oregon, independents Candidates split the Democratic vote in these places.

Stanley-Becker reported from Arizona. Yvonne Weingert Sanchez of Arizona contributed to this report.

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