Speed Reads

Keeping His Seat

Mark Kelly re-elected in Arizona, Democrats inch toward Senate control

Former astronaut and U.S. Navy captain Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) has won his bid for re-election in Arizona's Senate race, beating Republican challenger Blake Masters, CNN and The Associated Press projected Friday. 

With 85 percent of precincts in Arizona reporting, Kelly had carried 51.8 percent of the vote compared to Masters' 46.1 percent, and was leading by more than 120,000 votes. 

"It's been one of the great honors of my life to serve as Arizona's senator," Kelly said in a statement. "I'm humbled by the trust our state has placed in me to continue this work."

Masters has not yet conceded, and his official Twitter account had not tweeted in more than 14 hours as of Saturday morning. 

Kelly's re-election marks a significant victory for Democrats, who are now just a single seat away from maintaining power in the Senate. Control of the chamber will likely now come down to the upcoming runoff election in Georgia. 

While Kelly was always ahead in the polls, his victory was not guaranteed, with Masters gaining support in recent days from Donald Trump-backed super PACS and Arizona Republicans vying to regain control of the state following the 2020 general election. FiveThirtyEight had projected Arizona as "leaning Democratic," but the race was still notably close. However, a push from former President Barack Obama may have helped put Kelly over the edge.

The liberal Kelly often sparred with Masters, a venture capitalist who, throughout his campaign, sought to present himself as a hardened ally of former President Trump.