Mark Kelly wins Trump’s pick for GOP Blake Masters, NBC News projects

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, daughters Charlotte, Samantha and son-in-law Mark Sudman wave during his campaign rally at the Rialto Theater on November 8, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly will retain his US Senate seat in Arizona, pushing Democrats closer to retaining control of the Senate, according to NBC News.

Kelly led Republican candidate Blake Masters, former President Donald Trump’s pick in the key state, by nearly six percentage points with 85 percent of the vote as of Friday night. With Kelly’s victory, Democrats only need one of the two seats in Nevada or Georgia that have yet to be called.

In Nevada, Republican candidate Adam Laxalt led by 1 percentage point with 88% of the vote counted as of Friday morning. The Georgia Senate race is headed for a Dec. 6 runoff between GOP candidate Herschel Walker and incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, who led by more than one percentage point.

Kelly raised and spent far more than the venture capital Masters, bringing in more than $81.8 million and spending more than $75.9 million through mid-October. Masters, by comparison, raised $12.3 million and spent just $9.7 million over the same period, according to data compiled by the Federal Election Commission.

The Arizona Democrat campaigned on a platform of bipartisanship and touted his willingness to work with Republicans. He was elected to the Senate in 2020 to complete the term of Republican Senator John McCain, who died of an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Kelly recently distanced himself from the Biden administration over his stance on immigration when he spoke out against the decision to end Title 42. The policy, started under the Trump administration, has prevented immigrants from entering the country because of Covid.

The Arizona Democrat has also pushed hard for border security. He recently referred to the influx of migrants at the southern border as “a mess” during a debate.

“When the president decided he was going to do something stupid about it and change the rules that would create more of a crisis, I told him he was wrong. That’s how I pushed this administration back many times,” Kelly said in October.

But Kelly was also the lead negotiator on the CHIPS and Science Act, a key component of President Joe Biden’s economic policies signed into law in August.

A former NASA astronaut and Navy pilot, Kelly is married to former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a 2011 headshot.

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