As the 2020 general election just gets closer, a race with a slightly lower profile than the presidency is picking up steam for Democrats. Arizona Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly, who’s both a former astronaut and the husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has revealed that he raised more than $2 million more than his Republican opponent last quarter. Kelly is running against incumbent Martha McSally, who was appointed to her seat to fill out the remainder of the late John McCain’s last term. In the fourth quarter, McSally’s campaign said it raised more than $4 million — while Kelly’s reported a haul of nearly $6.3 million in that same period.
It’s not the only sign that Republicans may lose the seat in November. A recent OH Predictive Insights poll had Kelly with a narrow but still leading margin over McSally. In the poll, he had 47 percent of the support compared to just 44 percent for the Republican. A more recent survey from Public Policy Polling had Kelly with an even bigger leading margin, reporting 46 percent of the respondents were behind his candidacy while McSally had only 42 percent of them. On average, RealClearPolitics reports that Kelly leads in polls by about two and a half percent — and the Cook Political Report calls the red state race a toss-up.
The McSally campaign maintained a stern about-face, no matter the dismal poll numbers. In the wake of developments like a spike in her fundraising for the fourth quarter, they claimed that she’s on her way to victory — although even that spike wasn’t enough to overtake Kelly’s campaign.
McSally campaign manager Dylan Lefler insisted:
‘Martha’s fundraising momentum shows that Arizonans are excited to send her back to the U.S. Senate this year. Throughout the last year, liberals in Washington have spent millions on false attacks ads to try and defeat Martha. Their efforts to distract have not prevailed, as her fundraising numbers continue to grow. Arizonans know she’s focused on what matters to them: lowering health care costs, securing our border, and improving veteran services.’
So in other words — she’s focused on responding to a fictional security crisis and ignoring the actual humanitarian one and, concurrently, tearing apart what’s been achieved in health care in the name of supposedly lowering costs for a few people, somewhere. Great! (Not.) Overall, in 2019, her campaign raised more than $12 million, and at the end of last year, she had some $7.6 million in cash on hand. Those figures include almost 54,000 individual contributions in 2019, which apparently averaged $65.34.
The race is, of course, unfolding in the shadow of the presidential race, in which just a few leading Democratic presidential candidates remain, and the stream of lower polling candidates dropping out keeps picking up. This Tuesday, a Democratic presidential primary debate stage will host just six candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, and businessman Tom Steyer. No one else qualified for the stage.
Within the GOP, the party has squelched any and all Trump opposition to the point of cancelling primary elections in a handful of states, no matter the candidates running against Trump.