Mark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona

Mark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona
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Former astronaut Mark Kelly clinched the Democratic Senate nomination in Arizona on Tuesday, marking a formal start to his general election campaign against Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallySenate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election Netflix distances from author's comments about Muslim Uyghurs but defends project On The Trail: Making sense of this week's polling tsunami 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 DuceyReplacing Justice Ginsburg could depend on Arizona's next senator Kelly's lead widens to 10 points in Arizona Senate race: poll Polls show trust in scientific, political institutions eroding MORE (R) to serve out the remainder of the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCrenshaw looms large as Democrats look to flip Texas House seat Analysis: Biden victory, Democratic sweep would bring biggest boost to economy The Memo: Trump's strengths complicate election picture MORE’s (R-Ariz.) term.

One other factor that could weigh on McSally’s chances in November is the presidential race. President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE carried Arizona in 2016 by 3.5 points, but recent polls show presumptive Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins MORE with a lead there. The former vice president and outside groups supporting him have already spent money in the state.