Mark Kelly

Photo of senator-elect Mark Kelly and his family, courtesy of The Associated Press.

Kelly wins big in Arizona

Democrat Mark Kelly officially won his senatorial race as of 12:51 a.m. Wednesday, according to The Associated Press (AP). Kelly is a first-time candidate, former NASA astronaut and retired United States Navy combat pilot. He is slated to finish the late Sen. John McCain’s (R) final term. This period will last until 2022 when Kelly faces reelection, but he solidified Arizona’s Democratic position after beating current Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D). 

He is also married to former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot in 2011 during a constituent meeting in Tucson, Arizona. Earlier during election night, AP published Kelly’s comments to a small group of reporters in southern Arizona. 

“The work starts now,” Kelly said. “And we desperately need Washington to work for Arizona. My top priority is making sure we have a plan to slow the spread of this virus, and then getting Arizona the resources our state needs right now.” 

Following Sinema’s 2018 victory, Kelly is the second Democratic senator from Arizona to win in over 30 years. According to The Arizona Republic, he won on a message of “partisan independence, science-based decision-making [and] affordable health care and insurance coverage.” 

Considering Kelly’s win in the special election — following Sen. McCain’s death in 2018 — he is expected to be confirmed to the U.S. Senate as soon as election results are certified. While polls projected a Kelly victory over current Sen. Martha McSally, the state’s 2018 senatorial race was uncomfortably close and took an additional six full days to call. 


Networks disagree on declaring Biden victorious

Presidential candidate Joe Biden (D) won Arizona’s 11 electoral votes at 12:50 a.m. Wednesday, according to an article published by AP calling the race. However, The Hill documented that the Trump campaign is considering legal challenges in Arizona and Pennsylvania, where hundreds of thousands of votes are still uncounted. Fox News also declared a Biden victory in Arizona, which chief strategist Jason Miller labeled as “trying to invalidate [Trump’s] votes.”

After this controversy from the Trump administration, AP published an article explaining the reason Arizona was formally called for Biden, and the news agency stood by the call. According to money, politics and influence reporter Brian Slodysko, a statewide analysis of ballots showed that there are not enough outstanding votes for Trump to catch up. However, The New York Times has not labeled Arizona as a Democratic victory — regardless of Biden’s 46,257 vote lead. 

According to AP, Arizona last backed a Democratic candidate in 1996, when former President Bill Clinton was eventually reelected to his second term. Over the last 72 years, 1996 was the only time Arizona voted blue — although 2020 could eventually mark the second and finalize “a huge blow to Trump’s chances for reelection.” 

After Biden’s victory was confirmed by Fox News and AP, a tweet from political strategist Ana Navarro-Cárdenas’ read, “Joe Biden is the first Democratic candidate in 24 years to win Arizona. I’d like to imagine it as John McCain getting his last laugh.” 

According to The New York Times presidential election results map, 3 million votes — or 90% of the estimated total — are counted in Arizona, with votes pending from 14 of the state’s 15 different counties. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, Biden also carried the popular vote by the majority of 73 to 69 million people. This total surpassed former President Obama’s record tally of 69,498,516 votes in his 2008 victory over McCain, as reported by CBS

Other tight races in Eastern states, including North Carolina and Pennsylvania, were left uncalled, in addition to the critical battles in Georgia and Nevada. According to The New York Times, New England and the West Coast were dominated by Biden, while southern and central sections of the U.S. were decidedly won by Trump. 

Separate from the contiguous U.S., Hawaii was officially called in favor of Biden, while Alaska remained undetermined late Thursday evening. Trump held a 62.9% to 33% lead with an estimated 56% of votes reported, but Alaska only holds three electoral votes, the fewest in the country along with six other states and the District of Columbia. 

Meanwhile, politics reporter Reid Epstein said the president is requesting a recount in Wisconsin after AP and The New York Times officially called the state for Biden. In 2016, a statewide recount increased Trump’s margin by 131 votes over Hillary Clinton, but this year, Biden is currently ahead by over 20,000 votes. 

As of 6:30 Thursday evening, Trump narrowly held a 49.39% to 49.36% lead over former Vice President Biden in Georgia. The state’s 16 electoral votes could decide the election, while the president leads by 1,797 votes with over 98% of the vote tallied.