Democrat Mark Kelly holds the Senate seat in Arizona

Democrat Mark Kelly has won re-election to the US Senate in the contested US state of Arizona, bringing his party one step closer to a majority in the upper house of Congress.

According to the Associated Press, Kelly, a former astronaut, was set to win his contest with Republican nominee Blake Masters, backed by former President Donald Trump and heavily funded by Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist and conservative donor.

With Kelly’s victory in Arizona, Democrats need just one more seat to maintain a 50-out-of-100 majority in the upper chamber of Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tie votes.

Democrats could reach 50 if Catherine Cortez-Masto wins re-election in Nevada over Republican Adam Laxalt in a race that is still too close. But they could also achieve their goal in a Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia between Raphael Warnock, the incumbent Democrat, and Herschel Walker, the former American football star who is running as a Republican.

Maintaining a Democratic lead in the Senate is critical for US President Joe Biden, as it will allow his party to approve judicial nominations and executive branch appointments and set the legislative agenda even if Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives .

Arizona used to be a reliably conservative state but has shifted left in recent years and now has two Democrats in the upper chamber, including the seat once held by the late former presidential candidate John McCain.

Republicans hoped to turn back the tide this election cycle on voter concerns about inflation, immigration and crime, but the attacks on Kelly had little effect. Kelly, who is married to former Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is widely considered a moderate Democrat, while Masters has been closely associated with Trump and more extreme Republicans.

Though control of the Senate has always been considered a failure, Kelly’s victory will be the latest disappointment for Republicans, who had hoped for a resounding win in the midterm elections but ended up underperforming as voters were equally concerned about the loss of abortion rights and core democratic values ​​were, as they did, punishing democrats for high prices.

Among the other big races being watched in Arizona is a bitter contest for governor that pits Democrat Katie Hobbs, the secretary of state, against Kari Lake, a Trump-backed Republican and former TV news anchor who has declined to say that she would accept the outcome of her choice if she loses. Democrat Mark Kelly holds the Senate seat in Arizona

Adam Bradshaw

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