CHANDLER, Ariz. — Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona scored a primary victory Tuesday after running unopposed for the Democratic nomination as he seeks re-election this fall in his swing state.
Kelly was tipped by NBC News to win the nomination shortly after the polls closed in Arizona. He will face the winner of a tight Republican race that includes several leading candidates who have embraced former President Donald Trump.
One of them, venture capitalist Blake Masters, has won Trump’s support and has touted it in campaign speeches and television ads. Limited polling ahead of the primary showed Masters ahead of businessman Jim Lamon and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, the other major contenders.
As Kelly’s victory was predicted, the Republican race was rated “too early to call” by NBC News. Kelly was not in Arizona to watch the results. He was in Washington, where the Democratic-controlled Senate is voting this week on medical care for veterans exposed to toxic burns and, potentially, a major climate, health care and tax bill.
The Arizona contest is shaping up to be one of the tightest races this fall and could determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years. Democrats have a 50-50 majority and Republicans need a clean one-seat gain to take control.
Arizona, once a reliably Republican state, has become more competitive in recent cycles: Voters there elected Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2018. And the state was narrowly won by President Joe Biden in 2020, the same year Kelly won a special election with 2.4 points.