Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema will win the race for U.S. Senate from Arizona. She defeated Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally in one of the hardest-fought and bitterest elections of the year.
McSally conceded the race Monday night, nearly a week after Election Day as county-by-county vote tallies came in. McSally lead the race briefly on election night but as mail-in ballots were counted, Sinema caught up to, and eventually overtook, McSally in the vote count.
About three-fourths of Arizona’s ballots are cast by mail. State law in Arizona requires ballots to be sealed and signed, and for those signatures to match those on voter registration forms. Reviews of those requirements routinely takes Arizona longer than other states to count results.
McSally announced her concession in a video posted on Twitter. “I just called Kyrsten Sinema and congratulated her on becoming Arizona’s first female senator after a hard-fought battle. I wish her all success as she represents Arizona in the Senate,” McSally said.
The Republican loss in the race means Republicans will control fifty-one seats in the Senate. Democrats will control forty-seven seats. A winner has yet to be declared in the Florida race and the Mississippi Senate race is heading for a runoff later this month.
The Arizona pick-up was an unexpected and impressive win for Democrats who haven’t held a Senate seat in the state in 24 years.
Sinema will be filling a seat being vacated by Republican Jeff Flake who announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking a second term in the Senate. Flake clashed repeatedly with President Donald Trump which cast doubt on his reelection chances. Arizona is a state where President Trump remains popular.
Senator John McCain, who had served in the Senate from Arizona since 1986, passed away this past August. Republican Governor Doug Ducey appointed Republican former Senator Jon Kyl to fill McCain’s seat. But Kyl committed to serving only through the end of the year, at which point Ducey will have to appoint another Senator. It is entirely within the realm of possibility Ducey appoints McSally to fill that seat.
President Trump tweeted Friday that corruption was taking place in Arizona and suggested a revote. “Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption – Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!” he wrote.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee in an email to journalists, also accused the Maricopa County recorder of “cooking the books” for Sinema. McSally ignored the calls to call the election results illegitimate in her concession.
Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr