In 2018, Arizona took its place as a new battleground state. Never before in modern Senate campaigns had two candidates created such an expensive and nasty fight for office.
The U.S. Senate race in Arizona pitted against each other Republican Martha McSally and eventual winner Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.
Now in 2020, all signs point to investors digging even deeper to support fighter pilot-turned-appointed U.S. Senator McSally and astronaut-turned-candidate Mark Kelly.
The election is just fifteen months away, and polling and financial data point to a close match-up that could determine control of the next Senate. Kelly leads in fundraising efforts so far, he is being propelled by his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). But McSally has the power of incumbency and is gaining ground.
But the most important factor in Arizona will be the two presidential candidates who top the ticket. Tracking polls conducted by OH Predictive Insights (OHPI) show Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat in the field of nearly two dozen. Biden beats President Trump in our latest poll. No other top contender fares as well, with the likes of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg falling short in these surveys.
The McSally-Kelly race will be among the closest-watched across the country.
Last year, Arizona became a $100 million state when we elected our first female senator. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) appointed McSally to fill late Sen. John McCain’s seat. McSally hued close to Trump, viciously hammered Sinema over her associations with anti-war groups and then came up just short. McSally has made some campaign changes and now runs as an incumbent looking to hold on in 2020.
The McSally-Kelly matchup promises to be more expensive and, depending on the national mood, could determine control of the U.S. Senate in 2021.