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Kelly beats McSally’s third-quarter fundraising by around $2.5 million

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PHOENIX – Democrat Mark Kelly outraised Republican Sen. Martha McSally by around $2.5 million in the most recent quarter as big money continued to pour into Arizona’s hotly contested 2020 Senate race.

The incumbent and her likely challenger for the seat formerly held by the late John McCain each touted their third-quarter fundraising numbers Monday.

Kelly, a former astronaut and the only major Democratic candidate for the seat, took in more than $5.5 million from July through September, according to a press release from his campaign.

McSally, who is trying to hold the seat to which she was appointed last year, raised more than $3 million, according to a press release from her campaign.

The Federal Elections Commission website wasn’t updated with third-quarter numbers as of Monday morning.

Valley political expert Mike O’Neil said the numbers bode well for the Democrat.

“Money tends to go to people who are likely to win, and I think that’s the undercurrent of this race, … that Mark Kelly looks very, very strong and Martha McSally – even though we’re pretty darn near a 50-50 state or slightly lean Republican – her campaign is fraught with some difficulties,” O’Neil told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

McSally’s third-quarter numbers were a dropoff from the $3.4 million she raised in the second quarter. Kelly, however, had his best quarter, beating his previous high by more than $1 million.

However, O’Neil said, McSally is pulling in plenty enough to get her campaign message out.

“If they’ve both got millions, somebody has more millions, the marginal benefit of that is very small,” he said.

Kelly’s campaign said it received nearly 150,000 contributions in the third quarter at an average of $36, with 98% of them for under $100.

“The past few months, Mark has been talking with Arizonans from Window Rock to Clarkdale to Parker about solutions to tackle rising health care costs and the price of prescription drugs,” Jen Cox, Kelly’s campaign manager, said in the release.

“This campaign is demonstrating the power of putting Arizona first, not corporate PACs and not divisive politics.”

McSally’s campaign said her haul came from more than 47,000 contributions at an average of $64, including more than 11,000 first-time donors.

“Arizonans want lower health care costs, secure borders, improved care for our veterans and economic opportunity for their families – and this impressive fundraising haul shows that Arizonans know that Martha is listening and delivering results,” Terry Nelson, general consultant for the senator’s campaign, said in the release.

For the year, McSally has raised about $8.5 million while Kelly’s total stands at more than $13.8 million.

According to second-quarter numbers on the FEC website, Kelly entered July with nearly $6 million cash on hand while McSally had more than $4.3 million.

Kelly’s press release didn’t include an update on cash on hand, but McSally reported a bankroll of $5.6 million.

Arizona’s Senate race is expected to be one of the most expensive in the nation. Democrats see the seat as a key opportunity for pickup in their effort to take control of the chamber in 2020.

“You’re going to see a lot of national money here, too,” O’Neil said.

After McCain’s death in August 2018, Gov. Doug Ducey appointed former Sen. Jon Kyl to the seat, but Kyl said he would only serve temporarily.

Ducey then handed the seat to McSally after she lost to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the race for the Senate seat vacated by Republican Jeff Flake, who didn’t seek re-election.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

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