Before the results are even announced, Arizona is in the midst of a historical senatorial race. Two female lawmakers and major party nominees are going head to head in a state that has never previously had a female senator. With roughly 53 percent of the votes counted and the race still infinitesimally close, the results of Arizona’s senatorial race definitely won’t surface by the end of election night.
The seat, which was vacated by the retirement of Republican senator Jeff Flake, is being fought for by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally, both of whom are notable for more than their gender (both are ironman triathletes — how cool is that?). Prior to her political career, McSally, who is endorsed by President Trump, was the first female fighter pilot to participate in combat, and thus is receiving high levels of support from veterans. The majority of her platform revolves around strict border security.
Sinema, as the representative for Arizona’s 9th District, is the first openly bisexual member of Congress. If elected, she would also be the first Democratic senator in Arizona in three decades. A former green party advocate, she has attempted to appeal to both parties by being aggressively moderate. Her primary focus is healthcare reform.
The main platforms of each candidate tested high among the concerns of Arizona voters. The only question is which one matters more to them. Many attribute Sinema’s success early on to her emphasis on the importance of quality healthcare for all.
“Both parties are hoping that making the midterm elections a referendum on Trump will help their cause,” Laurel Harbridge-Yong, a political science professor at Northwestern, said in a statement. “Democrats also seek to make protecting the ACA, especially coverage of pre-existing conditions, a winning policy-stance in a way that did not successfully do in 2010 or 2012.”
Though McSally leads currently with 49 percent of the votes, Sinema is close behind with 48 percent. Angela Green, the Green Party candidate (yeah, we get why that’s funny), has received 2.3 percent of votes thus far. In a previous NBC poll, Green received 6 percent of voter support. If that trend is replicated, Green could make a serious difference in an incredibly close race.
Keep an eye out, because results for this remarkable race probably won’t be finalized for the next few days.