CHANDLER, Ariz. — Blake Masters won the hard-fought Republican primary for Senate in the crucial swing state of Arizona on Tuesday, NBC News has projected, setting up a showdown with Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in the fall.
With more than three-quarters of the vote in, Masters led the primary race Wednesday morning with 39% of the vote. The venture capitalist was projected to defeat businessman Jim Lamon and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
Masters won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump and had touted it aggressively in campaign speeches and TV ads.
The limited polling in the lead-up up to the primary showed Masters with an edge against Lamon and Brnovich, the other major candidates.
The Arizona contest is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested races this fall and could determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years. Democrats have a 50-50 majority, and Republicans need a net gain of one seat to seize control.
Kelly, meanwhile, cruised to a primary victory after running unopposed for the Democratic nomination as he seeks re-election. He was projected by NBC News to win the nomination shortly after polls closed in Arizona on Tuesday.
Kelly was not in Arizona to watch the results come in. He was in Washington, where the Democratic-controlled Senate is voting this week on medical care for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits and, potentially, on a major climate, health care and tax bill.
Arizona, once a reliably Republican state, has become more competitive in recent cycles: Voters there elected Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2018. And the state was narrowly won by President Joe Biden in 2020, the same year Kelly won a special election by 2.4 points.