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Kelly expands lead over McSally in Arizona

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly leads Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyTrump nominee's long road to Fed may be dead end McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol McSally's final floor speech: 'I gave it my all, and I left it all on the field' MORE (R) by 9 points in Arizona, one of the states at the heart of the battle for control of the Senate in 2020.

A new Arizona Public Opinion Pulse survey conducted by the Phoenix-based nonpartisan polling firm OH Predictive Insights shows Kelly leading McSally by a 51 percent to 42 percent margin.

The company's last survey found Kelly leading by a 7-point margin, 49 percent to 42 percent.

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Kelly, a first-time candidate and the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), leads McSally by 10 points in Maricopa County, which accounts for the vast majority of Arizona's vote. Only one candidate in recent history, former Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas (R) in 2015, has won statewide election in Arizona without carrying Maricopa County.

Kelly also leads by a huge margin among independent voters, taking two-thirds among those who side with neither Democrats nor Republicans. McSally, who lost a close race for Arizona's other U.S. Senate seat in 2018 before being appointed to fill two years of the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJuan Williams: Obama's dire warnings about right-wing media Democrats' squabbling vindicates Biden non-campaign McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol MORE's (R) seat, takes just under a quarter of independent voters.

The same poll found former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Obama: Republican Party members believe 'white males are victims' MORE leading President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE among Arizona voters by a 52 percent to 43 percent margin. Biden is hoping to become the first Democratic presidential candidate since Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonObama: 'Hopeless' to try to sell as many books as Michelle Dow breaks 30,000 for first time as Biden transition ramps up Trump's remaking of the judicial system MORE to win Arizona's electoral votes.

"McSally's path to victory is difficult, but not impossible," said Mike Noble, OH Predictive Insight's chief of research. "She needs to expand her base outside of Trump's base of support by winning over women, independents, Latinos and suburban voters in Maricopa County."

Arizona is a must-win state for Democrats seeking to reclaim control of the Senate, where Republicans hold 53 seats, along with states like Colorado, Maine and North Carolina.

Kelly has been the party's all-star recruit. He pulled in $11 million in the first three months of the year, his campaign said Tuesday, and held $19.7 million in the bank.

McSally is no fundraising slouch herself: Her campaign said she raised $6.3 million and had $10.2 million on hand, figures that put her among the GOP's best fundraisers.