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Democrats flip Arizona Senate seat in major upset for Trump

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Arizona Democratic Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema (file photo)

US Representative Kyrsten Sinema has defeated her Republican rival in the race for a Senate seat in the state of Arizona, stealing President Donald Trump’s thunder amid his repeated claims of winning the midterm congressional elections.

Sinema’s victory against Martha McSally, a Republican congresswoman and former Air Force pilot, marked the Democratic Party’s first triumph in a battle for an open Senate seat in the traditionally red state since 1976.

Sinema will go on to replace Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a fierce Trump critic who is leaving the Senate at the end of his current term.

Despite losing the House of Representatives to Democrats, initial results showed that Republicans had managed to increase their majority in Senate by flipping two of the 26 Democratic Senate seats up for grabs in the November 6 elections.

Trump quickly took credit.

The Arizona defeat, however, means that the president’s party will have the same 51-47 majority in the Senate until two undecided races are called in Florida, where there is a recount, and Mississippi, where there is a runoff.

The race between McSally and Sinema had been too close to call for nearly a week. The Democratic candidate slightly fell behind in initial tallies on Election Day but pulled ahead by a growing margin as the counting continued.

The Associated Press called the race on Monday and McSally conceded.

Sinema, who won by promoting centrist policies, said in a Facebook statement on Monday night that she would have a nonpartisan approach to issues.

She also pledged to continue working with the government to “find common ground.”

“That’s the same approach I’ll take to representing our great state in the Senate, where I’ll be an independent voice for all Arizonans,” she wrote.

Trump is angry

Trump has accused Democrats of trying to steal the election in Arizona, saying a new election must be held because “signatures don’t match” on some ballots.

The president has made similar claims about the contested Senate and gubernatorial races in Florida, where Republicans were first projected as winners with narrow margins but now the elections can go both ways after it was decided that the results were too close to call.

Both Scott (in the Senate race) and DeSantis had celebrated their victories. DeSantis’ Democratic rival Andrew Gillum even gave a concession speech on Election Night before withdrawing it later on.

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