In this article, I took an early look at the overall race for the Senate in 2020. Now I’m going to look at all the races that are likely to be competitive, in alphabetical order. The first two races are Alabama and Alaska, both of which look like safe Republican seats. Next is Arizona, which looks very competitive indeed. All three of the main companies that rate races have it listed as tossup.
The current senator is Republican Martha McSally. This is the senate seat that was held for over 30 years by John McCain. After McCain died in August, 2018, Gov. Doug Ducey appointed Jon Kyl for the remainder of that term, but Kyl resigned at the end of 2018. Ducey then appointed McSally for the remaining two years of the term. This election is only to fill out the remainder of McCain’s term and whoever wins will have to run again in 2022.
Arizona is becoming a purple state. In recent presidential elections, this trend is a bit hard to see because of particularities of the races in 2012 and 2008 but:
- Trump won by 3.5% over Clinton
- Romney (who is from neighboring Utah) won by 9% over Obama
- McCain (who is from Arizona) won by 8.4% over Obama
But Arizona’s other senator is Krysten Sinema, who is a Democrat (she beat McSally by 2% in 2018) but Ducey won re-election easily in the same year. Of Arizona’s nine seats in the U. S. House of Representatives, five are held by Democrats and four by Republicans, but 17 of the 30 state senate seats are Republican, as are 31 of the 60 members of its state house. Those are all about as close to 50–50 as you can get.
Senate race 2020
For the Republicans, Martha McSally is running for re-election. As of May 19, 2019, she has no declared competitors but the Arizona Republican party has a bunch of extremists who might run against her. In the primary of her 2018 race for Senate, she got 55% of the vote, but the right wing vote was divided between Kelli Ward and Joe Arpaio. Arpaio has not ruled out running against McSally again and even sued the NY Times for a story that he said damaged his chances.
For the Democrats, the only declared candidate is Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former Representative Gabby Giffords, but several others are considering running. The most serious Democratic challenger was Rep. Ruben Gallego, but in March he said he would not run.
Although election day is a ways off, both candidates are fairly well-known in the state. The latest polling (as of May 1, 2019) has McSally with a 1 point lead over Kelly.
McSally raised over $2 million in the first fundraising period of 2019, while Kelly raised $4 million.