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.
Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well. Those that did not, say goodbye! Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018
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.
Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption - Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
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.
The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2018
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.