Mark Kelly honors McCain, highlights triumphs after projected retention of US Senate seat

Nov 12, 2022, 11:19 AM | Updated: 1:53 pm
(KTAR News Photo/Jeremy Schnell)...
(KTAR News Photo/Jeremy Schnell)
(KTAR News Photo/Jeremy Schnell)

PHOENIX — Democrat Mark Kelly in a speech on Saturday honored the late Sen. John McCain and touched on various victories during his first two years in office after being projected to retain his seat in the United States Senate.

“After more votes have been counted, it’s clear that we have been successful in this mission,” Kelly said at a press conference, adding he found out the projection while attending the Elton John concert in Phoenix on Friday night.

“I am so honored that Arizona has entrusted me to represent our state in the United States Senate for six more years.”

It was projected the former astronaut would defeat Republican challenger Blake Masters after Kelly was ahead by nearly 124,000 votes as of Friday evening, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

Kelly in his victory speech briefly spoke of election conspiracy theories and said he never forgot that he was fulfilling the term of McCain, who famously crossed party lines on critical issues.

“After a long election, it can be tempting to remain focused on the things that divide us,” Kelly said. “But we’ve seen the consequences that come when leaders refuse to accept the truth and focus more on conspiracies of the past than solving the challenges that we face today.

“For the past two years as we have faced these challenges, there has not been a day, not a day has gone by, where I have not remembered that I am sitting in the Senate seat of Sen. John McCain.”

Kelly said McCain embodied everything it was to be a leader.

“At a time when our state and country remained divided, his legacy of building bridges and focusing on Arizona is an example of what we all should do and what we should look to.”

The Democrat also boasted a few recent accomplishments in Congress, such as lowering prescription drug prices for seniors, passing a gun safety and mental health law as well as bringing manufacturing jobs back to America.

He ended the speech by saying there is still more work to do on issues both Arizona and the country faces, such as supply chain bottlenecks, abortion rights and the affordability of general items and college.

“The way to solve these problems isn’t by pointing fingers, it’s not by dividing people, it’s by listening and finding common ground,” Kelly said. “As we see in the results in Arizona and across the country this week, no one party has a monopoly on good ideas or the support of voters.

“I have seen that when we seek to represent everyone, not just the people who voted for us, we are capable of extraordinary things.”

Masters as of Saturday morning had yet to concede the race, tweeting a statement that said he is waiting for all the votes to be counted.

“We are going to make sure that every legal vote is counted,” the statement read. “If, at the end, Senator Kelly has more of them than I do, then I will congratulate him on a hard-fought victory.”

Kelly took office in 2020 after defeating Republican incumbent Martha McSally, who was appointed to the position in 2018 following the death of McCain.

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Mark Kelly honors McCain, highlights triumphs after projected retention of US Senate seat