ARIZONA NEWS

Sen. Martha McSally concedes Arizona race, congratulates Mark Kelly

Nov 13, 2020, 1:02 PM | Updated: 1:43 pm
(Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)...
(Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)
(Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)

PHOENIX – More than a week after the contest was called by major outlets on Election Day, U.S. Sen. Martha McSally conceded in her race against Democrat Mark Kelly.

The Arizona Republican issued a statement Friday saying she’d called Kelly to congratulate him on his victory.

“With nearly all the votes counted, I called Mark Kelly this morning to congratulate him on winning this race,” McSally said.

“I also offered support in his transition to ensure Arizonans are best served during this time. I wish him all the best.”

With only a few thousand ballots left to be counted statewide, Kelly had a 51.2%-48.8% advantage, a margin of nearly 80,000 votes.

Kelly’s win reflects months of polling that had him ahead, although the final tally was closer than projected. With around $140 million total raised by both candidates, it was the most expensive race in Arizona history.

The Associated Press and other media organizations projected Kelly as the victor of the special election late on election night.

Kelly, a political newcomer, former astronaut and the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, declared victory in a tweet the day after the election.

Kelly joins Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who entered the Senate after defeating McSally in the 2018 midterm election, to give Arizona two Democratic senators for the first time since 1953.

McSally joined the Senate in January 2019 after she was appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey to fill the seat vacated when Sen. John McCain died a few months earlier. Jon Kyl temporarily held the seat between McCain’s death and McSally’s appointment.

She previously served in the U.S. House, representing Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District. She was a U.S. Air Force pilot before entering politics.

Kelly won’t have much time to relax before campaigning again, because he’ll be up for reelection in 2022 when McCain’s term expires.

“It has been an absolute honor to fight for and serve Arizona in the U.S. Senate, especially during these unprecedented times,” McSally said. “Thanks to Gov. Ducey for giving me this extraordinary opportunity to serve.

“I will always be inspired by the strength, resilience, innovation, and compassion that I witnessed from Arizonans as I traveled throughout our great state. I will never forget what I learned from all of you.”

Ducey thanked McSally for her service and congratulated Kelly in a pair of tweets after McSally conceded.

Kelly flipping the seat keeps Democrats in contention for taking control of the Senate.

The breakdown stands at 50-48 in favor of the GOP with all of the general election races called, but two seats in Georgia won’t be decided until a January runoff election.

With Joe Biden winning the presidency, Democrats would have the edge in a 50-50 split because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would have the tiebreaking vote if needed.

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Mark Kelly, right, Arizona Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, right, hugs his family during an election night event Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) 
              U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., walks her dog Boomer to greet voters at a polling station early, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
            Voters wait in line at Mesa Community College Red Mountain campus on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino) At Mesa Community College Red Mountain on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino) Voters wait in line outside a polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Voters wait to cast their ballots at Burton Barr Central Library on Nov. 3, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Courtney Pedroza) Maricopa County Elections Headquarters in Phoenix on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar) A polling place in Phoenix on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup) Voters wait in line before dawn at Glendale Christian Church on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) A person walks past voting signs at Burton Barr Central Library on November 3, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Courtney Pedroza) Cisco & the Racecars play for voters at Burton Barr Central Library on November 3, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Courtney Pedroza) An "I voted" sticker is placed on Eddie Slades shirt at Burton Barr Central Library on November 3, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images) People stand in line at the Hamilton County Board of Elections as they wait to vote, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Norwood, Ohio. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster) Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Vote Center Lead Justin Ogunji, right, stands by the No. 42 display outside of Dodger Stadium, as he calls for the vote center at the stadium to open on Election Day, Tuesday morning, Nov. 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) A voter receives their ballot in a designated drive-up area for voters who are currently in quarantine with COVID-19 on November 3, 2020 at St. Louis County Board of Elections in St. Ann, Missouri. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/ Michael B. Thomas) President Donald Trump speaks at the Trump campaign headquarters on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign canvassing event outside Union Hall 445 in Scranton, Pa., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Voters cast their ballots on a foggy morning Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in West Hollywood, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) First lady Melania Trump walks with Wendy Sartory, the Palm Beach County supervisor of elections, after casting her vote at the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center polling place on November 03, 2020 in Palm Beach, Florida.  After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Joe Raedle) A voter arrives at a polling location on Nov. 3, 2020, in Fort Worth, Texas.  After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Tom Pennington) Jack Anderson cleans a voter booth to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Election Day at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange County, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Durham, N.C. (Casey Toth/The News & Observer via AP) Voters wait in line outside of the polling place at Eastern High School November 3, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky.  After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/ Jon Cherry) Each voter at this Ridgeland, Miss., voting precinct were required to use a sanitized pen to mark their ballots Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. The Mississippi Secretary of State office worked with county officials in providing hand sanitizers, face masks and other items to insure the safety of the electorate and the poll workers. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) Voters wait to cast their ballots at Johnston Elementary School in the Wilkinsburg neighborhood on Nov. 3, 2020, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/ Jeff Swensen) A poll worker talks to a voter before they vote on a paper ballot on Election Day in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) 
              Voters fill out their ballots inside a polling place at Indian Creek Fire Station #4 in Miami Beach, Fla., on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
            A voter picks up a sticker from poll worker MacGregor Wale after voting at the Catholic Multicultural Center on Nov. 3, 2020, in Madison, Wisconsin.  After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Andy Manis/Getty Images)

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Sen. Martha McSally concedes Arizona race, congratulates Mark Kelly