Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly praises McCain in victory speech with Masters yet to concede

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly called for unity and offered strong praise for the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in his victory speech on Saturday after defeating Republican challenger Blake Masters in the Arizona midterm Senate election.

Speaking at the Barrio Cafe in Phoenix, Arizona, Kelly told a crowd of supporters it was time to move past “the things that divide us,” and follow McCain’s example by embracing bipartisanship.

“Now, after a long election, it can be tempting to remain focused on the things that divide us. But we’ve seen the consequences that come when leaders refuse to accept the truth and focus more on conspiracies of the past than solving the challenges that we face today,” Kelly said.

“For the past two years as we face these challenges, there has not been a day, not a day has gone by where I have not remembered that I am sitting in the Senate seat of Senator John McCain,” he continued.

2022 MIDTERM ELECTION RESULTS

Sen. Mark Kelly and his wife former Rep. Gabby Giffords, joined by their daughters Claudia and Claire, wave to supporters at his election night rally at the Rialto Theatre on Nov. 8, 2022, in Tucson, Arizona.
(Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“Senator McCain embodied everything it was to be a leader. And at a time when our state and our country remain divided, his legacy, his legacy of building bridges and focusing on Arizona is an example of what we all should do and what we should look to.”

The Fox News Decision Desk called the race for Kelly on Friday night. He was elected to his first full term as Arizona’s junior senator, having previously defeated Martha McSally in 2020 in a special election to complete the remainder of McCain’s term after he passed away while in office.

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Incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Republican Blake Masters.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

President Biden, who was in Cambodia, called Kelly to congratulate him on Friday, the White House said. However, his Republican opponent has not yet conceded the race.

Masters issued a statement on social media moments before Kelly spoke, thanking his supporters and calling on every “legal vote” to be counted.

“For my people who knocked doors in 115 degree heat, and for the million+ Arizonans who put their faith in me, we are going to make sure that every legal vote is counted,” Masters said.

“If, at the end, Senator Kelly has more of them than I do, then I will congratulate him on a hard-fought victory. But voters decide, not the media; let’s count the votes.”

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Kelly told reporters Saturday that Masters “ran a good race and ultimately the voters make a decision.”

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“In every election, somebody’s going to win and somebody’s going to lose,” Kelly said. “You’ve got to trust the process. We do elections well.”