Mark Kelly Defeats Martha McSally in Crucial Arizona Senate Race

Mark Kelly Defeats Martha McSally in Crucial Arizona Senate Race

Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times Mark Kelly, an astronaut and retired Navy captain, toppled Senator Martha McSally, Republican of Arizona, early Wednesday, flipping a seat vital to Democrats’ effort to wrest control of the Senate. It was the second time that voters in the traditionally conservative state rejected Ms. McSally, who attached herself to President Trump to buoy her Senate prospects in 2018 and never let go, as they delivered a wholesale rebuke of the president and his allies. Mr. Kelly, who built a national profile as a gun safety advocate after the shooting of his wife, former Representative Gabrielle Giffords , ran as a pragmatic outsider. At the center of his campaign was the bet that he could appeal to voters in the rapidly changing state — especially the crucial voting blocs Ms. McSally had alienated, including women, younger voters and Latinos, who have become increasingly powerful parts of the electorate in recent years. His victory, predicted for months in statewide polls, was crucial for Democrats in their bid to take back the Senate. The contest, one of the most expensive and closely watched in the nation, was the first time Arizonans had voted to send two Democrats to represent the Senate since the 1950s, underscoring the shifting demographics and politics of a state once known as a conservative stronghold. Mr. Kelly leaned hard into his biography on the campaign trail, playing up his work as a NASA space shuttle pilot and retired Navy captain and […]

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