Arizona voters launched former NASA astronaut and Democrat Mark Kelly to the US Senate on Tuesday, according to a projection announced by Fox News.
The call would result in the ouster of Republican Sen. Martha McSally and could help Democrats gain control of the upper chamber of Congress.
Democratic former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper beat freshman Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, but that victory was offset by Republican former college football coach Tommy Tuberville’s defeat of Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama.
Republicans hold a 53-47 edge in the Senate, meaning Democrats need a net win of four seats to tip the balance of power.
Under Arizona law, Kelly — who’s married to Gabby Giffords, the former US representative wounded by a crazed gunman during a mass shooting at a constituent event in 2011 — could be sworn in as early as Nov. 30.
Kelly and McSally were battling over the last two years of the late Sen. John McCain’s term.
McSally was appointed in late 2018 to replace US Sen. Jon Kyl, who was selected following McCain’s death earlier that year but only agreed to serve until the end of 2018.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s selection of McSally, a two-term US representative and US Air Force veteran who was the first female fighter pilot, came after she lost a 2018 Senate race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.
Kelly consistently outpolled McSally throughout their race, prompting her at one point to publicly ask supporters to forgo eating and send her the cash they saved.
“We’re doing our part to catch up, you know, to get our message out,” she said during a speech in August.
“But it takes resources. So, anybody can give, I’m not ashamed to ask, to invest. If you can give a dollar, five dollars, if you can fast a meal and give what that would be.”
Her campaign later insisted McSally was merely “making a joke.”
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