PHOENIX (AP) — U.S. Senate candidates for Arizona, Sen. Martha McSally and Mark Kelly, held a debate on Tuesday, Oct. 6 before an election that could influence the confirmation process for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
Watch the debate in the player above.
If Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly wins a seat in the U.S. Senate, he could take office as early as Nov. 30, shrinking the GOP’s Senate majority at a crucial moment and complicating the path to confirming Amy Coney Barrett.
Because the contest is a special election to finish McCain’s term, the winner could be sworn in as soon as the results are officially certified. Other winners in the November election won’t take office until January.
If Kelly wins, the timing when he formally takes office could be crucial in determining who replaces Ginsburg. It could eliminate a Republican vote in favor of Trump’s nominee — the GOP currently has 53 seats in the 100-member chamber — or require McConnell to speed up the nomination process.
With McSally in the Senate, four GOP defections could defeat a nomination, while a tie vote could be broken by Vice President Mike Pence.
Kelly has maintained a consistent polling lead over Republican Sen. Martha McSally, who was appointed to the seat held by John McCain, who died in 2018.
Democrats in 2018 found success in Arizona, a state long dominated by the GOP, by appealing to Republicans and independent voters disaffected with Trump. The Supreme Court vacancy could shake up the race and boost McSally’s lagging campaign by keeping those voters in her camp.