Senator Mark Kelly surpasses a million votes, holds lead over Blake Masters

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 12:24 AM MST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2022 at 8:18 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Sen. Mark Kelly is holding his lead over challenger Blake Masters, but no winner has been called yet as the race continues. As of Thursday at 8 p.m., Kelly is at 52% over Masters’ 46%. Kelly surpassed a million votes as Masters came in at over 940,000, a difference of nearly 115,000 votes. The battle over who will take the seat in the U.S. Senate in January is far from over.

Kelly took photos and met with supporters in Tucson as many were heading to the polls to cast their votes Tuesday morning. “I did what I said I was going to do when I went to Washington. Work with Republicans and Democrats to get stuff done for Arizonans,” he said. “We passed a lot of bipartisan legislation that benefits this state and our country, and I’m going to continue to do that if re-elected.”

Just after 11 p.m., Kelly took the stage to speak to the watch party crowd. “I am feeling confident tonight,” he said, drawing loud cheers from the crowd. “Now at the same time, it doesn’t look like we’re going to have the final results for a little while. And that’s OK.” Kelly then gave a heartfelt thanks to his wife, Gabby Giffords. “We never expected we would end up here. But with everything life has thrown at us, we’ve always had each other’s backs. Gabby, thank you for having our backs on this campaign and through two years representing Arizona in the United States Senate. You’re my best friend,” he said. “The person who taught me the most about public service. None of this would’ve been possible without you.” Kelly ended his speech by bringing his entire family out to the stage, waving to the crowd.

Masters didn’t take the stage to address Republican supporters late Tuesday night.

Sen. Kelly, the incumbent Democrat, is being challenged by political newcomer Masters, who has grown to fame through the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, having later received an endorsement from former Vice President Mike Pence.

Both candidates have had a feisty campaign, particularly on the issues of social security, immigration, and election security. Kelly, who has billed himself as a moderate, led several polls in the days leading up to Election Day, but Masters has been closing the gap in particular with undecided voters and more conservative-leaning independents.

Kelly has positioned himself as a candidate focused on protecting reproductive and abortion services in the state. Kelly has also honed his message by focusing on delivering messages about solutions to inflation, an issue that has hurt favorability ratings for Democrats.

Masters, on the other hand, has poised himself as a political outsider with strong right-wing backing. “If we don’t get the right Republicans in office in three days, we’re going to lose this country forever,” Masters told a crowd on Saturday. The Associated Press has reported that he has taken a hardline stance against abortion and disavowed his comments on the 2020 election but now talks about ensuring the integrity of future elections.