Profile pictures of US Senate Arizona candidates Blake Masters and Mark Kelly from BallotPedia

Welcome to the race for the US Senate seat for Arizona! This race pits the incumbent Mark Kelly, a Democrat who has served in the US Senate since 2021, against the challenger Blake Masters, a Republican who is an entrepreneur and author, currently with the Thiel Foundation.

Arizona has been a fairly solid “red” state in the presidential elections — the only time the state had gone “blue” (Democratic) in decades has been in 1996 (Bill Clinton). But the state is shifting in notable ways, demographically and ideologically, with Arizona narrowly voting for Democrat Joe Biden for president in 2020. The US Senate election of Kyrsten Sinema (a Democrat and openly bisexual woman) in 2018 and Mark Kelly’s US Senate win in 2020 are part of this trend. But since the 2020 presidential election, Arizona has become more polarized, with many in the Republican party denying the outcome of the election. Rather than nominate Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to challenge Mark Kelly, the Republicans chose a hard-right candidate in Blake Masters, along with other hard-right candidates on the ballot. 

An important note for this election season: Traditionally, the “party in power,” defined as the party in charge of the US presidency (which this year is the Democratic Party), loses seats in the midterm elections. But the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022 has shifted momentum toward the Democrats (see 538 and NYT analysis at these links). The race in Arizona is one of the top nine Senate races to watch in the 2022 election, and its outcome will help determine which party controls the US Senate in January 2023.  



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Relevant news stories:

  • Article: “What’s Happening In Arizona Is Not Really An Audit Or A Recount. It’s A Partisan Inquisition,” FiveThirtyEight, May 28, 2021
  • Article, “Pushing an Immigration Conspiracy Theory, While Courting Latinos,” New York Times, July 29, 2022
  • Article: “In Kansas and Arizona, voters defy expectations to chart their own course,” NPR Politics, August 6, 2022
  • Article: “The Arizona Republican Party’s Anti-Democracy Experiment,” New York Times Magazine, August 15, 2022
  • Article: “Blake Masters Bets on Immigration Outcry to Shake Up Arizona Senate Race Against Mark Kelly,” Time, August 26, 2022
  • Audio / transcript: “Abortion access is about to become more restricted in Arizona, but by how much?” NPR Morning Edition, September 19, 2022
  • Article: “Latino Voters Shifted Right in 2020. What Does That Mean for Arizona and Nevada This Year?” FiveThirtyEight, September 21, 2022
  • Article: “McConnell-linked super PAC pulls out of Senate race in Arizona,” Washington Post, September 20, 2022