ELECTION UPDATE: Kelly Beats Masters in Arizona, Dems ONE SEAT from Keeping Senate

Democrat Mark Kelly defeated Republican Blake Masters Saturday in Arizona’s key Senate Race, putting progressives just one seat from retaining control of the Upper Chamber of Congress.

“Thank you to the people of Arizona for re-electing me to the United States Senate,” Kelly said in a statement. “From day one, this campaign has been about the many Arizonans — Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — who believe in working together to tackle the significant challenges we face.”

From NBC News:

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly is the winner of the Arizona Senate race, NBC News projects, defeating Blake Masters, a Republican backed by former President Donald Trump.

Kelly’s projected victory on Friday comes three days after polls closed, and as Arizona officials continued counting ballots that were mailed in or dropped off, particularly in the vote-rich Maricopa County, home to Phoenix. It gives Democrats 49 Senate seats, one short of securing a majority, with Nevada still counting votes and Georgia’s contest headed to a Dec. 6 runoff.

Kelly ran as a moderate, breaking with President Joe Biden on issues like immigration as he sought to navigate headwinds generated by Biden’s low approval rating and widespread economic pain due to rising inflation. He promised to protect abortion rights and build on Democrats’ achievements in recent years, including laws to boost competition with China and to lower prescription drug costs.