Mark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona

Mark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona
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Former astronaut Mark KellyMark KellyMissouri Senate candidate says Congress members should go to jail if guilty of insider trading The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks Manchin, Sinema join GOP to sink filibuster change for voting bill MORE clinched the Democratic Senate nomination in Arizona on Tuesday, marking a formal start to his general election campaign against Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyBusiness groups, sensing victory, keep up pressure over tax hikes Kelly raises million in third quarter Ruben Gallego is left's favorite to take on Sinema 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 DuceySome in GOP begin testing party's lockstep loyalty to Trump Trump slams Biden, voices unsubstantiated election fraud claims at first rally of 2022 Trump to make election claims center stage in Arizona MORE (R) to serve out the remainder of the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRedistricting reform key to achieving the bipartisanship Americans claim to want Kelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE’s (R-Ariz.) term.

One other factor that could weigh on McSally’s chances in November is the presidential race. President TrumpDonald TrumpPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy  Hannity after Jan. 6 texted McEnany 'no more stolen election talk' in five-point plan for Trump MORE carried Arizona in 2016 by 3.5 points, but recent polls show presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a lead there. The former vice president and outside groups supporting him have already spent money in the state.