Could Mark Kelly Really Be Arizona’s Next Senator? This Poll Says Yes

Sen. Martha McSally and Mark Kelly

Sen. Martha McSally, R-Arizona, and her leading Democratic challenger, Mark Kelly, have already raised almost $15 million for the 2020 election, which is expected to be one of the most hotly contested Senate races in the country. (Photos by Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons)

By Keya Vakil

January 9, 2020

Democrat Mark Kelly holds a 4-point lead over incumbent Sen. Martha McSally among Arizona voters, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling.

How would you like to have a former astronaut and U.S. Navy captain serving as Arizona’s next U.S. Senator?

That possibility is becoming increasingly real, as Democrat Mark Kelly holds a 4-point lead over Republican incumbent Sen. Martha McSally among Arizona voters, according to a new poll from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling.

The survey of 760 Arizona voters was conducted from Jan 2 to 4 and found that 46 percent of polled voters said they would vote for Kelly, while 42 percent said they would vote for McSally. Twelve percent said they were not sure. The survey’s margin of error is 3.6 percentage points.

The PPP survey is just the latest in a series of recent polls showing Kelly with a narrow lead over McSally. 

Kelly has also proven to be a prodigious fundraiser, raising nearly $14 million in the first three quarters of 2019. Kelly had $9.5 million in cash on hand at the end of Q3, compared to only $5.6 million for McSally. Fourth quarter fundraising numbers have not been made public yet. 

If elected, Kelly has said he will fight to protect and improve health care, combat climate change, and support “commonsense” gun safety laws. The state of the nation’s gun laws are personal for Kelly, who is married to former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), a survivor of a 2011 assassination attempt that left six others dead and 13 wounded.

While Kelly has refrained from directly attacking McSally, the incumbent Senator has still come under fire for her record on health care. Democrats have blasted her vote to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017, her vote to allow the sale of “short-term” insurance plans, and her spotty efforts to reduce drug costs.

Several anti-McSally outside groups are also getting involved in what is expected to be the most expensive race in Arizona’s electoral history. 

McSally’s campaign has decried the attacks on her record, telling The Hill in December that they expect “every hysterical liberal special interest group to invade Arizona with false, negative ads for the next year since they know it is a pivotal race to keep the Senate majority.”

While Kelly has painted himself as an independent voice for Arizona, McSally has doubled down and become a staunch ally of President Trump. During her time as Senator, McSally has voted with Trump 90 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.

A former Congresswoman, McSally ran for Arizona’s other Senate seat in 2018, but lost to current Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. She was later appointed to succeed interim U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who resigned after temporarily filling the seat left vacant by the death of former Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Democrats, who need to flip at least three Republican-held seats in 2020 to gain control of the Senate, believe they can hand McSally her second loss in three years.

With yet another poll showing Kelly ahead of McSally, that optimism appears warranted.


  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.



Local News

Related Stories
Share This