Sen. Mark Kelly was projected on Friday to defeat Republican challenger Blake Masters and retain his seat in the U.S. Senate after the 2022 midterm elections, boosting Democrats’ chances of keeping control of the upper chamber of Congress.
“Thank you, Arizona,” Kelly said in a short message to Twitter late Friday. He had been projected as the winner by The Washington Post, NBC News and CNN.
With Kelly’s win, Democrats are just one seat away from keeping their control of the Senate as the parties watch the results from a close race in Nevada, as well as the showdown between Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker which will head to a runoff on Dec. 6.
Kelly, who led polls for months, campaigned for reelection as a moderate who promised to protect abortion rights but breaking with President Joe Biden on immigration.
Masters, a venture capitalist, has previously embraced lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Former President Donald Trump.
Trump was quick to blame Masters’ loss on alleged voter fraud, writing on his Truth Social platform that “voting machines in large numbers didn’t work but only in Republican districts.”
“People were forced to wait for hours, then got exhausted or had other things to do and left the voting lines by the thousands. Even Kari Lake was taken to a Liberal Democrat district in order to vote. Others weren’t so lucky,” Trump wrote.
“This is a scam and voter fraud, no different than stuffing the ballot boxes. They stole the Electron from Blake Masters. Do Election over again!”
The Republican National Committee and the Arizona Republican Party sent a statement to reporters late Friday suggesting that “deep flaws” in Maricopa County’s election administration damaged the credibility of the election.
Democrat Adrian Fontes was also projected to defeat election denier Mark Finchem in Arizona’s secretary of state race to replace fellow Democrat Katie Hobbs, who ran for Arizona governor in a tight race against Kari Lake — who fell further behind in the vote count.
Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats are also vying for control of the U.S. House, with CNN projecting that Democrats now have 203 of the 218 seats needed to control the lower chamber.
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