Kyrsten Sinema narrowly wins Arizona Senate race as Democrats claw back losses
Arizona Republican Martha McSally conceded her razor-thin US Senate race Monday, providing Democrats with a key victory in a state that has not elected a member of the party to the Senate in three decades.
Kyrsten Sinema will replace outgoing Senator Jeff Flake, a conservative Republican who is a critic of President Donald Trump.
Arizona is a border state with increasing numbers of Latino immigrants. The issue is front and center in statewide elections there, and Trump has triggered a sense of nativism among his supporters.
But Ms Sinema sought to focus on kitchen-table issues like health care, and Democrats’ push to preserve protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Democrats, who reclaimed control of the House of Representatives in the midterms, have now flipped two Senate seats: Arizona and Nevada.
Senate – US mid term election results bar
Republicans gained Senate seats in Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota.
The victory by Ms Sinema, an Arizona congresswoman, will provide Democrats a critical extra vote in the 100-member chamber, which Republicans will still control when the dust settles from last week’s closely-watched midterm elections.
Trump weighed in on the Arizona race after the election, crying foul when authorities took days to count ballots and used a procedure that allowed voters to confirm their signatures in cases where there were discrepancies.
"Just out – in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption," Mr Trump said on Twitter, citing no proof of wrongdoing.
"Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!"
Mr Flake has repeatedly stated there has been "no evidence" of voter fraud, and offered warm, cross-party congratulations to Sinema on her victory.
Democrats cleaned up in areas with high levels of college education
"It’s been a wonderful honor representing Arizona in the Senate. You’ll be great," he tweeted.
Ms Sinema, who at 42 will be one of the Senate’s youngest members, addressed cheering supporters in Phoenix, where she took a moment on Veterans Day to thank Ms McSally – the country’s first female fighter pilot to fly in combat – for her service to the nation.
Ms McSally had embraced Trump and his policies during her Senate race, and Sinema appeared to call out Trump’s scorched earth tactics in her remarks, as she called for healing after the tense midterm elections.
"Arizona rejected what has become far too common in our country: name-calling, petty personal attacks, and doing
Ms Sinema’s race was one of three undecided Senate battles.
A fierce fight remains in Florida, where authorities are conducting a recount in the race between Democratic Senator Bill Nelson and his Republican challenger Rick Scott, who is Florida’s term-limited governor.
Mississippi’s Senate race is headed to a run-off, which is expected to be won by Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith.