CNN Prediction: Democrat Adrian Fontes to defeat election denier Mark Finchem in Arizona secretary of state race

(Mark Kelly/Handout/Reuters)
(Mark Kelly/Handout/Reuters)

Arizona Democratic senator CNN predicts Mark Kelly will win a full six-year term, beating Republican Blake Masters, the venture capitalist backed by former President Donald Trump and repeating some of his lies about the 2020 election.

Kelly won, and he was elected in 2020 to fill the late Republican senator’s term. John McCain was a crucial victory, bringing Democrats one step closer to their goal of retaining control of the U.S. Senate – given President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and an unfavorable economic environment that appears to be driving momentum , which would be an astonishing feat to go Republican.

With Kelly’s victory in Arizona, Democrats will holds 49 seats, Republicans will hold 49. With Arizona’s seat in their column, Democrats need only one more seat to maintain their majority in the upper chamber, having previously gained a seat in Pennsylvania. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, defeated Trump-backed Mehmet Oz in the race to replace the retiring Republican senator. Pat Toomey. (The Senate is currently split 50-50, but Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tiebreaker).

The two parties remain focused on a close race in Nevada, with Democrat Kathleen Cortez-Masto trying to fend off a challenge from the state’s former attorney general, Republican Adam Laxalter. Democrats are also defending a Georgia seat, the Democratic senator. CNN expects Rafael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker to run in the Dec. 6 runoff.

Control of the U.S. House of Representatives is still up in the air, but it is clear that even if Republicans win a majority, it will be by a narrower margin than Republican leaders had hoped for.

Kelly enters the 2022 cycle in a strong position to withstand the headwinds facing Democrats — even in purple states like Arizona, where Joe Biden narrowly won — because of his role as a retired astronaut, a Navy veteran and former Congressman Gabby Giffords.

As votes were counted in Arizona, Masters’ campaign had hoped that the deluge of mail-in ballots being delivered to polling places on Election Day would favor Republicans. In Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, those ballots took longer to count than for in-person voting on Tuesday, as officials had to verify signatures on ballot envelopes.

In a call with reporters Friday afternoon, Masters’ campaign advisers argued that Masters had a path to victory. “We always knew it was going to be a close race,” a campaign official said. “Smart observers watching this race know it’s all too close. Either way, it’s probably going down to 10,000 votes. We feel good that we have a way.”

But in the end, as the counting continued, Kelly led Masters with an insurmountable lead.

Early in the campaign, Masters, a first-time candidate, sailed past the Republican primary challenge with strong support from his former boss, conservative tech billionaire Peter Thiel. He appealed to Republicans by promising to prioritize immigration, but also echoed Trump’s lies about the 2020 election. In a campaign video released last year, he said he believed Trump had won.

Masters then appeared to adjust his tone on the 2020 election results and the conservative stance he sought on primary election abortion — initially seemingly to appeal to a broader Arizona constituency. (While Republicans hold a majority in Arizona, independents make up about a third of the electorate and often influence close elections).

After his August primary victory, Masters scrubbed his website of language that included false claims that the election had been stolen. During the debate with Kelly, under questioning from the moderator, Masters admitted that he had seen no evidence of fraud in the 2020 vote counts or election results that could have altered the outcome. During that debate and the course of the trial, Kelly argued that if an election denier like Masters were elected, the “wheel” could be “divorced from our democracy.”

But Masters appeared to reverse course after a call from Trump urging him to “get tougher” on election denialism, a conversation captured in a Fox documentary. In the final week of the campaign, Masters told CNN’s Kyung Lah that he didn’t think moderates would be bothered by his comments about the 2020 election, insisting voters were more concerned with their concerns about inflation, crime and borders.

Throughout the campaign, Kelly painted Masters as an extremist who would jeopardize abortion rights as well as Social Security and Medicare. With lawmakers within 15 weeks of passing a new abortion ban earlier this year — and working to pass laws to ban abortion in almost all cases — Kelly’s campaign has been relentlessly focused on Masters’ anti-Abortion campaign. Abortion stance.

Masters has said he would support a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks, a proposal put forward by Republican senators from South Carolina. Lindsey Graham. The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest and protection of the life of the mother.

CNN analysts break down the latest figures:

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