Democrat Kyrsten Sinema flips Arizona Senate seat for first time in 30 years


Democrats just snagged another Senate seat.

For the first time in 30 years, Arizona is sending a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema officially beat Rep. Martha McSally for the seat held by retiring Republican Jeff Flake. While things looked grim for Sinema on election night, Arizona kept counting the ballots and as of Monday, Sinema was in the lead by more than 30,000 votes.

On Monday night, the Associated Press declared Sinema the winner, and McSally conceded.

Arizona has been a solidly Republican state for decades. Dennis DeConinci was the last Democrat to win a Senate seat there, retiring in 1995. Since then, the state has elected one far-right conservative Republican after another.

But, as has been the case all over the country, the deeply unpopular Trump has been a real problem for Republicans. Polling in April showed Sinema handily defeating any of the three Republican candidates running for their party's nomination, including McSally. And that was due in no small part to Trump's toxicity for Republican candidates.

Sinema started her campaign strong last year, even before Flake announced he would not seek re-election. The Ironman triathlon winner who represented Arizona’s 9th Congressional District released a deeply personal video about her experience with homelessness and hunger as a child, and how that part of her life informed her political worldview.

After last Tuesday, as the results looked tighter and tighter, Republicans became increasingly desperate to stop Sinema from winning, including filing a lawsuit to try to stop all the votes from being counted.

But by the end of last week, Sinema had pulled ahead and her lead continued to grow. Now the race is officially over, the Democrats have picked up another Senate seat, and Sinema will head to Washington as Arizona's first woman senator.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.