Some Good News

Despite all the angst over the main event of the 2020 election season, there is some good news.

Senator Martha McSally, Trump sycophant from Arizona, lost her appointed seat in a special election to former Astronaut and husband of former Representative Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly by a 6.8 point with only 82% of the vote counted.

McSally, never popular in the state, struggled to shake her affiliation with President Trump, at times appearing visibly flustered by the association as Election Day approached. In October, she dodged a debate question about her support for the president, after which Trump belittled her at a rally.

The coronavirus pandemic hit Arizona particularly hard. While McSally tried to tout her work on emergency relief packages, voters continued to hang her star next to Trump’s.

As a result, McSally never sustained gains among suburban voters. This was especially true in the key Phoenix suburbs of Maricopa County, where local polls once showed her down 20 points after anti-Trump conservative super PAC the Lincoln Project ran attack ads this spring.

That county had been a Republican stronghold until 2018, when moderate Democrat Kyrsten Sinema beat McSally there among GOP voters. Despite the loss, McSally still became a U.S. senator after Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, appointed her to replace GOP Sen. Jon Kyl. The outgoing legislator had earlier been appointed to fill the seat left open by the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., upon his death in 2018.

McSally is the only senator in U.S. history to lose her election bid but still score a Senate seat.

McSally had a difficult time trying to distinguish herself from Kelly, who ran a campaign aimed at furthering Sinema’s inroads with moderate Republicans turned off by Trump’s incivility. Kelly embraced pragmatic versions of liberal platforms, such as a public healthcare option and climate change legislation geared at jumpstarting the renewable energy industry.

In Colorado, former Governor John Hickenlooper is going to the Senate replacing another Trump squish, Sen. Cory Gardner. The race was called by the Associated Press Hickenlooper’s lead became insurmoutable

From the beginning, the Colorado Senate race seemed one of the most likely opportunities for a Democratic win. Gardner was elected in 2014 by less than 2 percent of the popular vote — less than 40,000 votes in all, in a strong midterm year for Republicans. Colorado overall has trended blue in recent years and has supported the Democratic nominee in every presidential election since 2008.

Hickenlooper ran as a moderate, and focused on issues like fighting the pandemic and creating better health care reform. He sought the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2020 cycle, although he dropped out of the national race in August 2019 and announced his Senate campaign later that month. In an interview on Monday, Hickenlooper talked about uniting the progressive wing of the Democratic Party epitomized by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., with the more moderate wing he represents.

As of noon today, the Senate is 47 – 47 with six races in Georgia (both races headed to a run off), Maine and North Carolina (too close to call).

It ain’t over yet. Patience.