Blake Masters, a rookie Republican, was beaten by Mr. Kelly, who ran as a bipartisan politician committed to serving the interests of Arizona. Mr. Masters’ ideological passion was insufficient to win over enough independent voters.
According to reports in the media, Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona won his hard-fought re-election race on Friday. Kelly defeated his Trump-backed Republican opponent, Blake Masters, bringing Democrats closer to keeping control of the Senate by one seat.
In the Nevada race between Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and her Republican opponent, Adam Laxalt, who maintained a narrow lead late Friday but was anticipated to fall down, Democrats aim to take control of the chamber once all votes have been tallied.
If Mr. Laxalt were to win, the Senate would remain in limbo until the runoff election in Georgia on December 6 among Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat pursuing a full term, and his Republican opponent, the former football player Herschel Walker.
Mr. Kelly, who had previously been regarded as one of his party’s most vulnerable incumbents, won thanks to the backing of some of the top state Republicans and national Democrats, who emphasised his willingness to work across party lines and positioned his campaign as essential to preserving American democracy.
Embracing the false narrative that the 2020 election was rigged, Mr. Masters, a venture investor and political newbie, entered Arizona politics with millions of dollars in backing from his old employer, internet billionaire Peter Thiel.
He played to xenophobic and racist sentiments while portraying himself as an internet-savvy insurgent, alleging that Democrats were trying to introduce more immigrants to the country in order to change its demographics and gain an advantage in politics. His ideological passion enthused the state Republican Party’s emerging extreme wing. The state’s independent voters, who now account for approximately a third of the voting population and helped turn Arizona from a solidly red state into a tossup, found it difficult to support him.
Election authorities in Arizona, which has long been the subject of conspiracy theories and mistrust regarding the 2020 presidential election, have been counting votes since Tuesday, raising tensions. The top three Republican contenders in the state, including Mr. Masters, have all made unfounded allegations of election fraud in 2020. They have also hinted at potential wrongdoing and made assertions that election officials are incompetent.
The Master’s campaign sought donations in an email to supporters on Thursday after claiming to have observed “troubling” flaws during the election: “We’re expecting a contested road forward and legal battles to come.”
As Congress debated abortion rights and the border, as well as the future of Arizona, formerly a Republican bastion but now one of the nation’s most competitive states politically, there were significant implications in the fall campaign.
In the last weeks of the campaign, Mr. Masters, Ms. Lake, and the other leading Republicans travelled the state in a bus, portraying themselves as a close-knit group of outsiders challenging the establishments of their own party, the left, and the media.
For his part, Mr. Kelly courted a varied coalition of independents, conservatives, and moderates. In order to appeal to the state’s Latino voters, he also advertised on radio and television in Spanish. They contributed to his triumph in the 2020 special election, which resulted in Democrats winning both Senate seats in his state for the first time in seven decades.
Mr. Kelly claimed during his election night party in Tucson, a city close to his residence, that his campaign had not been “about name-calling or dividing people,” but rather about establishing common ground and resolving issues.
“This has been a tough election,” he said. “No matter how the rest of the results shake out, our government will remain closely divided with a lot more work to do,” he added.
His advantage as a retired Navy captain — Mr. Obama termed the combat pilot converted senator the real “Top Gun” — permitted him to travel farther than other candidates. He frequently campaigned alone and wore a bomber jacket.
“I rent a little airplane,” he continued. “I fly myself around the state, meeting with folks.”