Many people are speculating about the chances that the Republican party will use the momentum going into November to do what was once impossible for this election cycle: flip the Senate to the red. All the analyses that I have read, and I do read many of them, explain how this might happen including Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).
From my home in Arizona, I think Kelly isn’t sweating as much.
My friend and colleague, gave his analysis on the GOP’s Senate Takeover Chances, along with my thoughts.
Kelly may be safe for a few reasons, mainly because of the Arizona Republican Party’s hot-mess nature. But Kelly is also a well-known celebrity candidate. A senator candidate should have good name recognition across the state. Mark Kelly is well-known across the country. He’s been able to raise a staggering amount of money from all corners of the United States because of this.
Kelly will enjoy a spending advantage when the crunch time of the campaign cycle comes around. Kelly will be able to afford to pay three TV ads for every two radio ads that a Republican can afford.
Let’s take a look at the circumstances that led to Kelly being elected to complete the term of John McCain.
Arizona’s GOP bench is not what an optimist would consider good. Kelly’s 2020 opponent was Martha McSally. This is the same candidate who lost to Kyrsten Sinema in 2018.
McSally was a well-known candidate, but she was also one of the most unqualified candidates this state had ever seen. Even back in the days when there were no Republicans here, she would have struggled to win. Kelly was limited to promoting “I’m an Astronaut!” ads on the airwaves, while independent and Republican voters chose to wait for McSally to dry than cheer him up.
Kelly ran without offering visionary ideas or policy solutions. He also avoided the issue that was most dear to his heart: gun control.
The fact that McSally was given a second chance to win the Senate seat by the Arizona GOP is a clear indication of the party’s true intentions.
Governor Kelly is the only Arizona Republican that could defeat Kelly. Doug Ducey has repeatedly stated, and vehemently, that he doesn’t want to run for Senate.
The Grand Canyon State’s primary election is not until August. This is a bigger problem in terms of the nuts and bolts. The general election will be decided by which Republican candidate wins. This means that the winner of the primary election in Grand Canyon State will have a greater fundraising advantage. Blake Masters, a candidate with close ties to tech billionaire Peter Thiel, may be able almost to offset Kelly’s advantage. However, the more time you have the better. Kelly is only helped by the late primary.
It’s true that Joe Biden weighs in at 400 pounds. Kelly is a thorn in the side of vulnerable Democrats and has managed to fly under the radar while not being closely linked with this trainwreck. Kelly has largely hidden behind Sinema’s stylish skirts and tried not to be seen.
It is possible that Kelly, a celebrity with a lot of money, will not be able to get rid of the Biden smell.
The question is whether the Arizona GOP will provide an alternative that encourages independent voters to vote and disillusioned Republicans to go to the polls.