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Mark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona

Mark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona
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Former astronaut Mark KellyMark KellyEx-McSally aide pleads guilty to stealing over 0K in campaign funds Bowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' Manchin says he doesn't support DC statehood, election reform bills MORE clinched the Democratic Senate nomination in Arizona on Tuesday, marking a formal start to his general election campaign against Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyEx-McSally aide pleads guilty to stealing over 0K in campaign funds Arizona state senator announces bid for Kirkpatrick's seat Democratic Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick says she won't seek reelection MORE (R-Ariz.). 

Kelly’s nomination was virtually never in question. He faced no serious primary opposition and is among the most well-known and best-financed Senate candidates of the 2020 election cycle.

His win on Tuesday marks the official beginning of his general election campaign against McSally, perhaps the most vulnerable GOP incumbent of the 2020 election cycle. Nearly every recent public poll shows Kelly with the advantage in the race, and he will begin the general election fight with nearly $24 million in cash on hand, more than twice as much as McSally.

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Republicans argue that Kelly isn’t invincible. They’ve sought to weaken him through attacks on his business and investment record, and have tried to tie him to the “radical left.” 

But McSally will almost certainly face an uphill battle this fall as she seeks to hold onto her Senate seat. She’s currently the only Republican Senate incumbent whose race falls into The Cook Political Report’s "lean" Democratic column. 

At the same time, she already has a history of losing a statewide race. A former representative from Arizona’s 2nd District, McSally was defeated in 2018 by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the state’s Senate race. Weeks after that loss, she was appointed by Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyArizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Arizona governor to resume job-seeking requirements for unemployment benefits More abortion restrictions passed this week compared to any week in last decade: analysis MORE (R) to serve out the remainder of the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEx-McSally aide pleads guilty to stealing over 0K in campaign funds DOJ: Arizona recount could violate civil rights laws Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women MORE’s (R-Ariz.) term.

One other factor that could weigh on McSally’s chances in November is the presidential race. President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE carried Arizona in 2016 by 3.5 points, but recent polls show presumptive Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit On The Money: Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report | GOP targets jobless aid after lackluster April gain MORE with a lead there. The former vice president and outside groups supporting him have already spent money in the state.