Mark Kelly beats Trump GOP pick, Blake Masters, NBC News projects

United States Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and his wife, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, daughters Charlotte, Samantha and son-in-law Mark Sudman salute during his campaign rally at the Rialto Theater on November 08, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona .

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

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

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

Kelly has raised and spent far more than the Masters in venture capital, raising 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 during the same period, 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 complete the term of Republican Senator John McCain, who died of an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Kelly recently distanced his stance on immigration from the Biden administration when he spoke out against the decision to end Title 42. The policy, which began under the Trump administration, prevented migrants from entering the country due to Covid.

The Arizona Democrat has also pushed for border security. He recently called the influx of migrants at the southern border 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 a bigger crisis, I told him he was wrong. So I repeatedly pushed that administration away.” , Kelly said in October.

But Kelly was also one of the chief negotiators for the CHIPS and Science Act, a key part of President Joe Biden’s economic policy that was signed into law in August.

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

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