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Early polling shows McSally with narrow lead over Kelly in Senate race

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PHOENIX – Mark Kelly is positioned to give U.S. Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona a strong challenge in 2020, according to polling conducted this week after the former astronaut announced his candidacy.

The Republican incumbent had an edge over her two most likely Democratic challengers in an OH Predictive Insights poll released Thursday, but her lead over Kelly was just two percentage points, 46-44.

Kelly threw his hat into the ring Tuesday morning, announcing his intentions with a 4½-minute video on social media. More than $1 million was donated to his campaign within 48 hours.

McSally performed better when matched up against U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, who said Tuesday a decision about whether he would run for Senate was coming soon.

Voters preferred McSally, who is expected to seek re-election but hasn’t formally announced it, over the three-term congressman, 49 percent to 41 percent.

The poll of 600 likely Arizona voters was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday and has a margin error of plus or minus 4 percent. Ten percent of voters were undecided in each potential matchup.

McSally is in her first Senate term after being appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey to replace Jon Kyl, who stepped down at the end of 2018. Kyl had been appointed to succeed the late John McCain, who died in August.

The OH Predictive poll also looked at the candidates’ favorability.

McSally, who has more name recognition than either Democrat after serving in the House and then running unsuccessfully for the Senate against Kyrsten Sinema last year, was favorable in the eyes of 51 percent of those polled. However, 42 percent viewed her unfavorably.

Kelly has been a strong advocate for gun control since his wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, was seriously wounded in a 2011 mass shooting in Tucson.

He earned favorable ratings from 41 percent of those polled, and unfavorable from 21 percent.

Gallego polled at 30 percent favorable and 23 percent unfavorable.

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