ARIZONA NEWS

Mark Kelly continues to lead Blake Masters in Arizona’s US Senate race

Nov 10, 2022, 8:14 PM | Updated: 9:34 pm
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, left, and Republican challenger Blake Masters (Getty Images)...
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, left, and Republican challenger Blake Masters (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly extended his lead over Republican challenger Blake Masters to 5.6 percentage points Thursday evening as more results were released in Arizona’s general election.

The incumbent had a 51.74%-46.13% advantage over Masters in results posted to the Arizona Secretary of State’s website around 8:45 p.m. Libertarian Marc Victor had 2.13%. Victor dropped out the race a week before Election Day, too late to be removed from the ballot, and threw his support behind Masters.

It remains to be seen if Masters can make up the gap, which was 114,894 votes, as ballot counting continues.

The seat is key piece in the battle for control of the Senate, which was divided 50-50 — giving Democrats control because they hold the White House — heading into the midterms.

Kelly has been fighting to hold on to the seat he won for Democrats two years ago, but he faced a vastly different political environment heading into Tuesday’s election against Masters.

The incumbent defeated Republican Martha McSally, who was appointed to the position in 2018 following the death of longtime Sen. John McCain.

Kelly’s campaign has largely focused on his support for abortion rights, protecting Social Security, lowering drug prices and ensuring a stable water supply in the midst of a drought, which has curtailed Arizona’s cut of Colorado River water.

He has presented himself as someone who can reach across the aisle and call out his own party if needed, as he has with President Joe Biden’s handling of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Masters, who describes himself as an “America First conservative,” is a political newcomer and ally of billionaire investor Peter Thiel.

The Tucson native won Trump’s endorsement after claiming “Trump won in 2020.” Under pressure during a debate last month, he acknowledged he hasn’t seen evidence the election was rigged, but later doubled down on the false claim that Trump won.

Polling averages had Kelly comfortably ahead until the final days, when Masters closed the gap.

Since the term for McCain’s seat ends this year, Kelly or Masters will have a full six-year term as senator.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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              Voters wait in line outside a polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
            Voters wait to cast their ballots at the Biltmore Fashion Park on Nov. 8, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona. After months of candidates campaigning, Americans are voting in the midterm elections to decide close races across the nation. After months of candidates campaigning, Americans are voting in the midterm elections to decide close races across the nation. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) Bill Gates, Chairman of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors, speaks about voting machine malfunctions at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on Nov. 08, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona. He said that about 20 percent of polling stations in the county have had tabulation machine malfunctions, where some ballots cannot be read. These ballots, he said, are being set aside for tabulation at the central election center in the evening after the polls close. After months of candidates campaigning, Americans are voting in the midterm elections to decide close races across the nation. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) A voter arrives to cast their ballot at the Phoenix Art Museum on November 08, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. After months of candidates campaigning, Americans are voting in the midterm elections to decide close races across the nation. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) Teresa Brice from the Election Protection Arizona Association sits in front of the voting center at the Burton Central Library in Phoenix, Arizona, on Nov. 8, 2022. (Photo by Olivier Touron/ AFP via Getty Images) A voter casts his ballot at a drop box on Nov. 8, 2022, in Mesa, Arizona. After months of candidates campaigning, Americans are voting in the midterm elections to decide close races across the nation. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) Maricopa County officials Stephen Richer and Bill Gates explain the technical issues plaguing some voting sites in metro Phoenix on Nov. 8, 2022. Richer is the county recorder; Gates is chair of the county board of supervisors. (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino) A woman waves an American flag to greet motorists as they head to vote in the US midterm election at The Cesar Chavez Cultural Center in San Luis, Arizona on November 8, 2022. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images) Outside the voting center at Burton Barr Library in Phoenix on Nov. 8, 2022. (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) Security is in place at Maricopa County Elections Department headquarters in Phoenix on Nov. 8, 2022. (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino) Maricopa County Elections Department headquarters in Phoenix on Nov. 8, 2022. (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino) Security is in place at Maricopa County Elections Department headquarters in Phoenix on Nov. 8, 2022. (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino) Security is in place at Maricopa County Elections Department headquarters in Phoenix on Nov. 8, 2022. (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino) (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino) A voter drops off ballots at Burton Barr Library in Phoenix on Nov. 8, 2022. (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) Voters stand in line to cast their ballots at The Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Centers in Yuma, Arizona, on Nov.8, 2022. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images)

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Mark Kelly continues to lead Blake Masters in Arizona’s US Senate race