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Democrats flip Arizona US Senate seat with Sinema victory

15 November, 2018, 11:59 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • US Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema's lead in Arizona is growing

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) is the first woman elected to represent Arizona in the Senate.

After several days, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is the apparent victor in Arizona's Senate race after edging Republican Rep. Martha McSally.

On Monday night, Sinema had a 1.7 percentage point lead with 1,097,321 votes to McSally's 1,059,124, according to secretary of state website. Sinema said that access to affordable health care was a topic that frequently came up when she spoke with voters, and that became a hard point for McSally who had to defend her vote, which was in line with the Trump administration, in support of the proposed Republican repeal of Obamacare.

"I just called Kyrsten Sinema and congratulated her on becoming Arizona's first female senator after a hard-fought battle". A House vote by Ms. McSally to repeal Obamacare - and its protection for pre-existing health conditions - worked against Ms. McSally.

Ms Sinema tailored her campaign for conservative-leaning Arizona rather than the national environment, but it may be a guide for Democrats who hope to expand the electoral map in 2020. While some liberals won important races in California, Colorado and Kansas, the left's highest-profile champions disappointed on Election Day.

Sinema, who in 2013 became first openly bisexual person to be seated in the House of Representatives, is now also the first openly bisexual U.S. Senator.

In the closing weeks of her campaign, she found herself hounded by numerous quotes from her past, such as a 2010 joke that Arizona is the "meth lab of democracy"; a 2003 email inviting "feminist witches" to an anti-war rally; a 2003 interview claiming "I don't care if you want to" about Americans joining the Taliban; and a 2002 email stating it "would be inappropriate to ask someone to not destroy property or to carry a weapon".

CNN reporter Manu Raju was quick to point out the lack of congruity, saying on Twitter, "Sinema promised on the campaign trail not to support Schumer for minority leader".

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She supported a bill making it easier to deport immigrants identified by police as gang members.

"Arizonans had a choice between two very different ways forward, one focused on fear and party politics, and one focused on Arizona and the issues that matter to everyday families, " she said.

The Arizona Republic estimates there are about 170,000 votes still to be counted.

The upheaval comes as Arizona, long a Republican bastion, emerges as a swing state in presidential elections. Of the more than 2.2 million ballots cast, Sinema won by 38,197 votes.

Annette Villelas was one of those angry voters.

"The way he talks just to the public, it's not right", Villelas said. John McCain, who she called a "legend who exemplified all the best of Arizona". Former GOP Sen. Jon Kyl was appointed to fill the vacancy following the death of Sen. She then became a Democrat and served several terms in the state Legislature.

Republicans hold a narrow majority of 51 to 47, with two other Senate races still unresolved on Monday: the close contest in Florida between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen.


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