Trump-endorsed tech entrepreneur Blake Masters blew past four other Republicans in the Arizona primary for U.S. Senate on Aug. 2.
Masters, who’d claimed 39 percent of the vote with more than 95 percent of the votes counted, now advances to the Nov. 8 general election to take a swing at unseating Democrat incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly.
Kelly didn’t have a challenger in the Democratic primary.
Political forecasters who predict election outcomes generally agree on three U.S. Senate races in this cycle being “toss-ups.” Arizona is one.
The Senate races in Nevada and Georgia also are considered far too volatile to predict. Democrats hold all three.
Money has poured in from around the country to help Kelly and the other two incumbents in toss-up races.
In the office he hopes to retain, Kelly inhabits a traditionally Republican territory. Before he took office in 2020, the seat was held by the GOP since the beginning of Barry Goldwater’s term in 1969.
Goldwater’s successor, John McCain, held the seat from 1986 until he succumbed to a brain tumor in August 2018. McCain, a polarizing figure among Republicans, won his party’s nomination for president in 2008, but lost in the general election to Barack Obama.
To fill the vacancy left by McCain, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) appointed another former U.S. Senator to the seat. Jon Kyl, a Republican, had represented Arizona in the Senate from 1995 until 2013. After replacing McCain, he resigned after almost four months, saying he wanted another appointee to be able to begin the new term in January 2019.
So Ducey appointed Republican Martha McSally, a former congresswoman and Air Force fighter pilot. She held the office for 23 months before Kelly unseated her in Nov. 2020.
Kelly, a former astronaut, passionately pushes for stricter gun laws. He is the husband of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived a gunshot to the head while speaking at a campaign event in Tucson in 2011. In total, 19 people were shot at the event and six died.
By Nanette Holt