Mark Kelly wins Arizona Senate race, bringing Democrats one seat away from majority, NBC News projects

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and his wife former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, daughters Charlotte, Samantha and son in law Mark Sudman wave during his election night rally at the Rialto Theatre on November 08, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly will hold on to his U.S. Senate seat in Arizona, pushing Democrats closer to retaining control of the Senate, NBC News projected.

Kelly was leading Republican candidate Blake Masters, who was former President Donald Trump’s pick in the key swing state, by almost six percentage points with 85% of the votes in as of Friday night. With Kelly’s win, Democrats need just one of the two seats in Nevada or Georgia that haven’t been called yet.

In Nevada, Republican candidate Adam Laxalt was ahead by 1 percentage point with 88% of the votes counted as of Friday morning. Georgia’s Senate race is headed to a runoff election on Dec. 6 between GOP candidate Herschel Walker and incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, who was leading by more than a percentage point.

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

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

Kelly recently distanced his stance on immigration from the Biden administration when he came out against the decision to end Title 42. The policy, which began during the Trump administration, prevented migrants from entering the country due to 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 dumb on this and change the rules that would create a bigger crisis, I told him he was wrong. So I pushed back on this administration multiple times,” Kelly said in October.

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

A former NASA astronaut and Navy pilot, Kelly is married to former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a gunshot wound to the head in 2011.

(With Inputs from cnbc)

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