Politics

Why Hasn't Senator Martha McSally Conceded To Mark Kelly? UPDATE: She Finally Did

Senator Martha McSally
Senator Martha McSally Gage Skidmore, CC 2.0
click to enlarge Senator Martha McSally - GAGE SKIDMORE, CC 2.0
Senator Martha McSally
Gage Skidmore, CC 2.0
Update (11/13): Roughly a week after major news networks called the Arizona Senate race for Democrat Mark Kelly, Republican Senator Martha McSally has finally admitted defeat.

In a statement issued by her campaign on November 13, McSally said that she is conceding the race.

"With nearly all the votes counted, I called Mark Kelly this morning to congratulate him on winning this. I also offered support in his transition to ensure Arizonans are best served during this time," she said. "I wish him all the best."

Original story:

The general election was over a week ago. And now, after tens of thousands of ballots have been counted across Arizona, Senator Martha McSally still trails her Democratic challenger Mark Kelly by almost 80,000 votes. The most recent tally of uncounted votes statewide reported by election officials is around 45,000, making it impossible for her to close the gap.

But McSally has yet to concede the race. In fact, she's gone completely radio silent.

Fox News called the race for Kelly on election night, and the Associated Press followed suit at 1:00 a.m. on November 4. Other major networks called it for Kelly days later. McSally's last public statements, at least on social media, were a few tweets from her campaign Twitter account urging voters to make it to the polls and stay in line to vote on Election Day.

Jacob Peters, a spokesperson for Kelly, told New Times that the Senator-elect has yet to receive a concession call from McSally; he declined to comment on the incumbent's bizarre lack of acknowledgement of Kelly's victory.

Caroline Anderegg, a spokesperson for McSally's reelection campaign, did not respond to New Times requests for comment.

Kelly, meanwhile, has assumed the role of Senator-elect. He's been assigned temporary office space in Washington, D.C. and has named a transition team. And because Kelly won a race that is technically a special election — McSally was appointed to the seat two years ago by Governor Doug Ducey — Kelly could be sworn in as soon as November 30. Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema, a Democrat who beat McSally in the 2018 election, publicly welcomed Kelly to the Senate and thanked McSally for "her service."

McSally's silence seems to mimic the denial of the election results in the presidential race coming from President Donald Trump, Senate Republicans, and the broader Republican party — including elected officials and party leaders in Arizona. (Reports have emerged that the Republican posturing is geared toward motivating the GOP base to help win the two runoff Senate elections in Georgia in January.)

Even Republican Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who has so far refrained from spreading baseless accusations of rampant voter fraud (as others in his party have done), has not issued any public statement congratulating Kelly on his win. Spokespersons for Ducey did not respond to New Times' questions about Kelly's win and the governor's response.
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Josh Kelety is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Inlander and Seattle Weekly.
Contact: Josh Kelety