US midterms: Senate race in the balance as Democrats hold Arizona

In this file photo taken on November 02, 2022 US Senator Mark Kelly speaks during a campaign event with former US President Barack Obama (AFP via Getty Images)
In this file photo taken on November 02, 2022 US Senator Mark Kelly speaks during a campaign event with former US President Barack Obama (AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic Senator Mark Kelly has held his Arizona seat as the race for control of the Senate continues.

Mr Kelly, the incumbent senator, defeated his opponent, Blake Masters, to leave the Senate race tied at 49-49 with just two states left to declare - Nevada and Georgia.

In a statement, the former astronaut and US Navy captain said: “Thank you to the people of Arizona for re-electing me to the United States Senate.

"From day one, this campaign has been about the many Arizonans - Democrats, Independents, and Republicans - who believe in working together to tackle the significant challenges we face.

"That’s exactly what I’ve done in my first two years in office and what I will continue to do for as long as I’m there.

"It’s been one of the great honours of my life to serve as Arizona’s senator. I’m humbled by the trust our state has placed in me to continue this work."

Mr Kelly successfully portrayed his opponent as too extreme for Arizona, emphasizing controversial comments Mr Masters made suggesting social security should be privatized.

The state is a former right-wing stronghold where Democrats have made gains in recent elections – Joe Biden won the state by 0.3 per cent in 2020.

The Democrats need just one more seat for control of the Senate as Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a tie-breaking vote.

In Nevada, incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto is within 800 votes of the Republican, Adam Laxalt.

The outcome of the Georgia vote could be weeks away, however, with Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock to face Republican Herschel Walker in a 6 December run-off.

In the House of Representatives, the Republicans currently lead 211-199.