Chandler, Ariz. — Republican Blake Masters won the GOP primary for Senate in the crucial swing state of Arizona on Tuesday, NBC News has projected, and will face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in the fall.
With more than three-quarters of the vote in, Masters led the primary race Wednesday morning with 39 percent of the vote.
The projected Republican nominee won a hard-fought race that features several leading candidates who have embraced former President Donald Trump. He has scored Trump’s endorsement and has touted it in campaign speeches and TV ads. The limited polling in the run-up to the primary showed Masters with an edge against businessman Jim Lamon and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, the other major candidates.
Kelly, meanwhile, cruised to a primary victory after running unopposed for the Democratic nomination as he seeks re-election. He was projected by NBC News to win the nomination shortly after polls closed in Arizona.
Kelly was not in Arizona to watch the results come in. He was in Washington, where the Democratic-controlled Senate is voting this week on medical care for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits and, potentially, on a better climate, health care and tax bill.
The Arizona contest is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested races this fall and could determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years. Democrats have a 50-50 majority and Republicans need a net gain of one seat to seize control.
Arizona, once a reliably Republican state, has become more competitive in recent cycles: Voters there elected Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2018. And the state was narrowly won by President Joe Biden in 2020, the same year Kelly won a special election by 2.4 points.
rebecca shabad contributed.