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Senator Mark Kelly in Phoenix, Ariz. on Nov. 2.
Senator Mark Kelly in Phoenix, Ariz. on Nov. 2.Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

Democrat Mark Kelly defeats Trump-backed Blake Masters in Arizona

The senator won re-election in a tight race against Masters, a right-wing extremist who peddled Trump's 2020 election lies.


Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona has won re-election, overcoming a challenge from Blake Masters, a 2020 election denier backed by former President Donald Trump, NBC News projects. The win brings Democrats one seat closer to control of the Senate.

Most polling leading up to Election Day showed Kelly with a consistent but increasingly narrow lead over Masters, who was running his first political campaign ... and it showed.

Masters exhibited no command over his messaging whatsoever. He praised the Unabomber, the murderous terrorist whose violent acts spanned nearly two decades. Masters frequently cited ideologues who oppose democratic governance. He's said racial diversity at the Federal Reserve is the source of U.S. economic problems. He’s promoted the racist "replacement" theory that claims nonwhite migrants are part of a plot to destroy America. He’s blamed “Black people” for the United States’ gun violence problem. He’s parroted baseless conspiracy theories about Trump being cheated out of the 2020 election by nefarious officials in the government. 

But Masters couldn’t master basic political communication, as evidenced by his attempts to waffle on his proposal to privatize Social Security and his wiping of his most extreme views on abortion from his campaign website. 

There were early signs of failure. Big money Republicans cut back on donating to his campaign on multiple occasions, showing a loss of faith in him just months out from the campaign. 

But Masters carried himself with arrogance that seemed to rub voters the wrong way, and Kelly capitalized on that haughtiness. In their sole debate in October, I thought the incumbent gave voters a proper read on his opponent. 

“You think you know better than women and doctors about abortion," Kelly said. "You even think you know better than seniors about Social Security, and you think you know better than veterans about how to win a war."

Putting lives into the hands of people like Masters is “just dangerous,” Kelly added. 


Check out the clip below.