Watch: Arizona US Senate candidates Kelly, Masters, Victor share debate stage
PHOENIX – With the start of early voting a week away, Arizona’s three U.S. Senate candidates are scheduled to share the stage Thursday in a live debate.
Incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly, Republican Blake Masters and Libertarian Marc Victor have all committed to participate in the hourlong event, which will be televised and livestreamed by Arizona PBS starting at 6 p.m. Arizona PBS host Ted Simons will serve as the moderator.
KTAR News 92.3 FM will air a live simulcast to be followed by analysis and reaction.
“It’s a lot more important for Blake Masters,” Republican Matt Salmon, a former congressman, told KTAR News’ The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday morning, citing Kelly’s polling and fundraising advantages. Salmon said the debate was “do or die” for Masters.
Kelly, a former Navy pilot and astronaut, appears to be in the driver’s seat with early voting for the Nov. 8 election starting Wednesday.
The Democrat has led Masters, a venture capitalist, in every head-to-head poll and was up by 4.1 percentage points in the average compiled by RealClearPolitics as of Thursday morning. Kelly’s lead was 6.1 points according in FiveThirtyEight’s version of the polling average.
In polls that include Victor, the Valley attorney has been in single digits.
Kelly is seeking reelection after voters picked him to fill out the remainder of the late Sen. John McCain’s term in 2020. Kelly defeated Republican Sen. Martha McSally, who’d been appointed to the seat by Gov. Doug Ducey following McCain’s death in 2018.
Thursday’s debate is sponsored by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, a nonpartisan board that was created as part of the Clean Elections Act passed by Arizona voters in 1998.
The CCEC holds debates for all contested statewide and legislative races as part of its voter education responsibilities.