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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 McSallyCindy McCain on possible GOP censure: 'I think I'm going to make T-shirts' Arizona state GOP moves to censure Cindy McCain, Jeff Flake Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed 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 TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire 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 McCainWhat to watch for in Biden Defense pick's confirmation hearing The best way to handle veterans, active-duty military that participated in Capitol riot Cindy McCain on possible GOP censure: 'I think I'm going to make T-shirts' MORE (R-Ariz.). Former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was initially tapped by Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyCindy McCain on possible GOP censure: 'I think I'm going to make T-shirts' Arizona's GOP governor to attend Biden inauguration Video of maskless Arizona governor's son at indoor party goes viral 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.