Chandler, Ariz. — Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, who was unopposed in the Democratic nomination Tuesday, sought re-election in a key swing state, winning the primary on Tuesday.
Shortly after the Arizona polls closed, NBC News expected Kelly to win the nomination. He will face the winner of a tight Republican race in which several leading candidates have embraced former President Donald Trump.
One of those venture capitalists, Blake Masters, gained Trump’s endorsement and hyped it up in campaign speeches and TV commercials. Limited opinion polls ahead of the primary show Masters having an edge over businessman Jim Ramon and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, the other leading candidates.
The Republican race was rated “premature” by NBC News in anticipation of Kelly’s victory. Kelly was not in Arizona to watch the results. He was in Washington, where the Democratic-controlled Senate voted this week on medical care for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, and could involve major climate, health care and tax bills.
The race in Arizona will be one of the most contested this fall and could decide which party controls the Senate for the next two years. Democrats have a 50-50 majority, while Republicans need a net gain of one seat to seize control.
Arizona, once a solid Republican state, has become more competitive in recent cycles: Voters there elected Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2018. The state was narrowly won by President Joe Biden in 2020, the same year Kelly won a special election point by 2.4.