GOP Senator McSally Concedes Arizona Senate Race

GOP Senator McSally Concedes Arizona Senate Race
Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz) speaks to supporters at the AZGOP Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, on Nov. 2, 2020. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) has conceded to Democrat Mark Kelly in the special election to the U.S. Senate to represent Arizona.

“With nearly all the votes counted, I called Mark Kelly this morning to congratulate him on winning this race. I also offered support in his transition to ensure Arizonans are best served during this time. I wish him all the best,” McSally said in a statement on Friday.

“It has been an absolute honor to fight for and serve Arizona in the U.S. Senate, especially during these unprecedented times. Thanks to Governor Ducey for giving me this extraordinary opportunity to serve. I will always be inspired by the strength, resilience, innovation, and compassion that I witnessed from Arizonans as I traveled throughout our great state. I will never forget what I learned from all of you.

“I am thankful for the more than 1.6 million Arizonans who voted for me and everyone who dedicated their time, resources, and prayers to our campaign,” she wrote, later adding, “After fighting for our country for more than three decades—the last nine in the political arena—I trust God will lead me to my next mission to make a difference after I get a little rest.”

She did not specify her plans for the future.

“Thank you, Arizona! It’s been an honor to serve you, and I know our future is bright and blessed.”

McSally assumed office on Jan. 3, 2019, and her current term as senator will conclude on Jan. 3, 2021.

She had run in the 2018 election for the U.S. Senate but lost to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D). McSally was later appointed to the U.S. Senate to replace Sen. Jon Kyl (R). Kyl was appointed in September 2018 to the vacancy left by the death of Sen. John McCain (R) but resigned from that seat on Dec. 31, 2018.

McSally from 2015 to 2019 represented the 2nd congressional district of Arizona in the House.

She had also served in the Air Force for 26 years and was the first woman fighter pilot to fly in combat. She retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 2010.

Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly speaks to supporters during the Election Night event at Hotel Congress in Tucson, Arizona, on Nov. 3, 2020. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)
Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly speaks to supporters during the Election Night event at Hotel Congress in Tucson, Arizona, on Nov. 3, 2020. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)

Kelly, a former astronaut and retired U.S. Navy captain, will now fill the rest of McCain’s term, which ends in 2022. With 98 percent reporting in the vote count, he held a more than 2 percent lead over McSally.

Kelly is married to former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), who resigned in 2012 after being shot in the head during a mass shooting in Casas Adobes. Kelly is a gun control activist. He is a cofounder of GIFFORDS, an organization “dedicated to saving lives from gun violence,” according to its website.

Republicans held a 53-47 majority in the Senate before Election Day. Of the 100 senate seats, 35 were up for election, 23 of which were held by Republicans and 12 by Democrats.

As of Nov. 13, Republicans have secured 50 seats, and Democrats have secured 48 seats. Two of those are held by independents who caucus with Democrats.

Republicans have flipped one seat, with Republican Tommy Tuberville in Alabama defeating incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.). Democrats have flipped two seats, with Democrat John Hickenlooper defeating incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) in Colorado in addition to Kelly’s latest win against McSally.

Five races have yet to be called.