Poll shows Sen. Mark Kelly with leads over potential GOP challengers

May 18, 2021, 4:05 AM
U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona. (Getty Images Photo/Courtney Pedroza)...
U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona. (Getty Images Photo/Courtney Pedroza)
(Getty Images Photo/Courtney Pedroza)

PHOENIX – Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, who faces reelection in 2022, holds comfortable but not insurmountable leads over his potential Republican challengers, according to recent polling of speculative head-to-head matchups.

OH Predictive Insights got an early look at how Kelly might fare against seven high-profile Republicans during a poll of registered Arizona voters conducted May 3-5 and released last week.

None of the Republicans included by the Phoenix-based research firm have announced their intention to run for Senate, and one of them, Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee, launched a campaign for a different office, governor, on Monday.

Kelly unseated Republican Martha McSally in November’s special election for the final two years of the late John McCain’s sixth Senate term. McSally had been appointed to the office by Gov. Doug Ducey.

The former astronaut had a double-digit lead over all but one of the potential GOP candidates for a full term, but he was below 50% in all cases because of voters who were unsure.

“It’s interesting that Kelly is beating out this broad range of Republicans, but he shouldn’t get too comfortable,” Mike Noble, OH Predictive chief of research, said in a press release.

“He’s still vulnerable below the all-important 50% threshold, meaning Arizona’s upcoming Senate seat is still up for grabs.”

Retired Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, former head of the Arizona National Guard, was the only hypothetical matchup in which Kelly didn’t have a double-digit lead. The incumbent led the former adjutant general 44%-35%, with 21% unsure.

Kelly led Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Yee by 10 percentage points each, while the margin was 11 points in potential matchups against Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs and former Fox 10 news anchor Kari Lake.

The seventh Republican included in the poll might be the most intriguing: Jack McCain.

The late senator’s son trailed Kelly by 14 percentage points in what would be a showdown of former Navy men, but that potential matchup had the highest level of uncertainty, with 28% unsure.

In fact, Kelly’s percentage against McCain was, at 43%, lower than in any other matchup in the poll.

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Poll shows Sen. Mark Kelly with leads over potential GOP challengers