GOP Sen. Martha McSally and Democrat Mark Kelly face off in the special election for US Senate in Arizona
Mark Kelly (left) is running for the US Senate in Arizona against GOP Senator Martha McSally REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni
GOP Senator Martha McSally is voting in a special election against Democrat Mark Kelly in the US Senate in Arizona.
McSally was appointed to the Senate seat of former Senator John McCain and is running for the remainder of his term through 2022.
A gun violence prevention advocate and former astronaut, Kelly is a prolific fundraiser and formidable adversary, making this election one of the U.S. Senate's most competitive races for Democrats.
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Senator Martha McSally holds a special election against Democrat Mark Kelly for the US Senate in Arizona.
McSally, a former US House representative, ran for an open seat in the US Senate in 2018 to replace Senator Jeff Flake, but lost to Senator Krysten Sinema.
Governor Doug Ducey then named McSally the seat of the US Senate from legendary former Senator John McCain, who passed away in 2018. Now McSally is running to extend the remainder of McCain's tenure, which is slated to end in 2022.
Shortly after McSally took office in January 2019, former naval captain, astronaut and gun violence prevention attorney Mark Kelly announced that he would challenge her as a Democrat in 2020.
Kelly co-founded the organization now known as the Giffords Foundation and his wife, former Congressman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and seriously injured while meeting with constituents in Tucson in January 2011.
His campaign platform is focused on expanding access to affordable health care, building the Arizona economy, reforming immigration and protecting social security benefits for the elderly.
McSally is among the most talented fundraisers among Republicans running for re-election this year, but she faces a difficult match to catch up with Kelly.
Kelly proved to be a formidable fundraiser from the start, raising millions of dollars each quarter. He raised a staggering $ 38.8 million in the second quarter of 2020, compared to $ 23 million for McSally.
In addition to reclaiming the White House, regaining control of the U.S. Senate is a top priority for the Democrats for the first time since 2015 and would be a major accomplishment in order to achieve either the political goals of future President Joe Biden or the goals of President Donald Trump thwarting agenda for second term.
Currently, the U.S. Senate consists of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two Independents who clash with Democrats and win that Democrats must win back a total of four net seats to get a majority of 51 seats (if Biden wins, his vice would be the President also act as President of the Senate and represent a tie.
In her short tenure in the U.S. Senate, McSally has bonded closely with Trump, taking conservative pro-Trump positions and voting with Trump 95% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.
And after being rejected by voters back in 2018, McSally is now in an increasingly precarious position, fighting for a full term in a year in which the electorate is ready to be far kinder to the Democrats.
Thanks to Biden's strong performance among white, suburban, and high-profile voters, Arizona - once considered a Republican bastion - is now a throwing state in the electoral college. Biden leads Trump in Arizona by an average of nearly four percentage points, according to FiveThirtyEights general election tracker.
The race's most recent poll, conducted in early October by the New York Times and Siena College, found Kelly McSally graduated with four points among those 65 and over and with a college degree among men, women, Latino and white voters three other items cited major double-digit profit margin demographics in the state.
In the poll, McSally led Kelly among white voters and tied Kelly among white voters without a college degree, two groups every Republican must win.
Given the general trend direction of the state, some of McSally's weaknesses in expanding their support in 2018, and Kelly's strength as a candidate, Arizona after Colorado could be the next best pickup option for Democrats.
And because the Arizona race is technically a special election, Kelly could be sworn in as early as November 30th, the Republic of Arizona reported.
The money race
Both candidates are successful fundraisers, making Arizona one of the most expensive Senate competitions this year. So far, Kelly and McSally have collectively raised nearly $ 132 million for their campaigns, not to mention the significant outside expenses in the race.
In the third quarter of 2020 fundraising between June and September, Kelly raised an impressive $ 38.7 million and is reported to have nearly $ 19 million in cash, according to his campaign, while McSally raised $ 23 million.
Kelly, along with Jaime Harrison in South Carolina and Sara Gideon in Maine, was one of three Democratic Senate candidates to break a quarterly Senate donation record previously set by Beto O'Rourke, the 2018 Senate candidate from Texas, at 38 , $ 1 million had been set.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, McSally raised $ 30 million and has $ 10.9 million in cash during this cycle.
Earlier this fall, McSally was criticized for making jokes at an event where supporters were asked to "fast a meal" to raise money for their campaign.
What the polls say
According to FiveThirtyEight, Kelly McSally has led by four percentage points or more in nearly every non-partisan poll conducted in 2020 and leads McSally by an average of eight percentage points across all polls, according to Real Clear Politics poll averages.
A poll by Monmouth University from October 9th to 13th showed that Kelly McSally is likely to lead with 10 points (52% to 42%) among voters. A Reuters / Ipsos poll conducted October 7-14, similarly to McSally, led Kelly by 11 points, 52% to 41%. A poll by OH Predictive Insights from October 4-8 showed that Kelly is ahead by a slightly smaller margin of five points.
What the experts say
The Cook Political Report and Sabatos Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics rate the race as "Democratic" and Inside Elections as "Democratic".
According to FiveThirtyEight's Senate forecast, Kelly has a 77% chance of beating McSally in the November election. The forecast shows Kelly is poised to get 53% of the population's vote, 6% more than McSally.
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