Democrat Kelly defeats McSally in Arizona Senate race

Democrat Kelly defeats McSally in Arizona Senate race
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Retired U.S. Navy captain and former astronaut Mark Kelly on Wednesday morning was projected to unseat Republican incumbent Arizona 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

The Associated Press called the race at 2:51 a.m. EST.

McSally was thought to be one of the most vulnerable Republican senators facing reelection this year. A number of recent polls had shown Kelly leading McSally, and Kelly consistently fundraised more than her as well. Kelly raised a whopping $37 million in the third quarter of 2020, while McSally raised $20 million. 

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The Republican incumbent also had to contend with President TrumpDonald TrumpPence: Supreme Court has chance to right 'historic wrong' with abortion ruling Prosecutor says during trial that actor Jussie Smollett staged 'fake hate crime' Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE's presence in the race even as polls showed a competitive presidential contest in Arizona, a state that has elected one Democratic nominee for president since the 1950s.

In a debate last month, McSally repeatedly avoided directly answering whether she was proud of her support for the president.  

"I'm proud that I'm fighting for Arizonans on things like cutting your taxes," McSally said. "I'm proud to be fighting for Arizona every single day."

Kelly is the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). They became vocal gun control advocates following an assassination attempt on Giffords.  

The former congresswoman played a major role in her husband’s campaign, frequently appearing on the campaign trail and in ads with Kelly. 

The race was technically a special election for the seat once occupied by the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senators appalled by 'ridiculous' House infighting MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, Chris Christie battle over Fox News Trump's attacks on McConnell seen as prelude to 2024 White House bid MORE (R-Ariz.). Former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was initially tapped by Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyTrump to attend fundraiser for Arizona GOP Senate candidate Arizona defies demand it stop using COVID-19 relief money for anti-mask schools Republicans poised to sweep Virginia, stunning Democrats MORE (R) to fill the seat; however, Kyl resigned in December 2018. Ducey then appointed McSally, who had lost to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) in the 2018 midterm election.