In Arizona, one of the four “toss-up” races, Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat, is hoping to fend off his challenger, Republican political newcomer Blake Masters. The two could not be more politically opposed.
Kelly bills himself as a Senator willing to work across the aisle, but according to FiveThirtyEight, he has a voting record that suggests he’s fairly progressive.
Masters, on the other hand, secured Donald Trump’s endorsement in the primary and hasn’t been shy about his view that “the Swamp” is a threat to the United States.
In September, an Emerson College poll showed Kelly and Masters essentially neck and neck; Kelly received 47 percent, and Masters received 45 percent.
The polling numbers resemble Arizona’s 2020 Senate race, where incumbent Martha McSally, a strong Trump supporter, lost to then-challenger Kelly. The loss was the second time McSally lost to a Democrat.
The first loss happened in 2018 when Democrat Kyrsten Sinema successfully flipped retiring Republican Jeff Flake’s seat from red to blue. It was also the first time Arizona elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1988.
Thus, the question comes down to, as Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) alluded to at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon, can a strong Trump supporter with a matching personality and campaign win in an increasingly “purple” state? Or will “candidate quality” again hamper Republicans in Arizona?
In 2018, McSally lost to Sinema in what, at the time, was considered a significant upset. Of the loss, McSally said, “We didn’t get a chance for
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