By Kaitlyn Schallhorn
Published November 06, 2018
It was an election destined to make history: two female lawmakers nominated by major parties in a state that has never elected a woman to the Senate before.
The Arizona Senate race between Reps. Martha McSally, a Republican, and Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, was too close to call as of early Wednesday, with both candidates announcing they will not be speaking.
A staffer for McSally's campaign told Fox News they are "feeling good" about their chances as they watched other races come in around the country.
The seat was left open after Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican openly critical of Trump, announced his retirement. He had said he couldn’t win a GOP primary in the current political climate.
McSally, the first U.S. female fighter pilot ever to see combat, received support from the highest levels of the Republican Party, including President Trump who campaigned with her in the Grand Canyon State.
“Arizona is such a Great State but it needs Border Security which [McSally] will provide, and Kyrsten Sinema doesn’t even think about,” Trump said in a tweet ahead of the election. “If it were up to Sinema – drugs, crime and illegal traffic will be flowing into Arizona at an ever increasing pace. Vote for Martha!”
Gov. Doug Ducey, who defeated Democrat David Garcia on Tuesday night to win re-election, and Cindy McCain, wife of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, also campaigned with McSally.
In Congress, McSally, 52, represents a moderate district based in Tuscon, voting in line with Trump nearly 98 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight data.
She tried to rally the base of her party, which is usually enough for Republicans to win statewide in Arizona, where they outnumber Democrats. But she started the race on the defensive over her vote to repeal ObamaCare. She harped on Sinema, claiming she committed “treason” during her days as an anti-war activist in the early 2000s.
Sinema, on the other hand, opted out of campaigning with high-profile Democrats throughout the campaign. She attempted to paint herself as a more moderate Democrat and noted she even supported the president on some issues, including backing his $1.3 billion spending bill earlier this year. She’s reportedly voted in-line with Trump more than 62 percent of the time.
She’s a former Green Party activist who transformed herself into a more centrist Democrat. In Congress, Sinema, 42, represents a district based in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe.
Just days before the election, Green Party candidate Angela Green dropped out and endorsed her.
In her campaign, Sinema courted Republicans by positioning herself as a nonpartisan problem solver.
However, her campaign faced setbacks when a 2011 speech came to light of Sinema saying her home state produced “crazy” as she advised liberal activists on how to “stop your state from becoming Arizona.” She said Arizona was known for “five Cs: cattle, copper, citrus, cotton and climate.”
“But I would add a sixth C. It’s called crazy,” she said.
Her campaign said she made the remark because she was “frustrated that no one in the state legislature was standing up to out-of-state special interests working to take away health care from children, make tuition more expensive and take job security away from working families.”
Ahead of the election, Fox News ranked the race as one of five toss-ups for the Senate. Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in Arizona by about 4 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.
Polls closed in Arizona Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.