ImageRepresentative Kyrsten Sinema made a stop at America's Taco Shop in Phoenix on Election Day.CreditCreditIlana Panich-Linsman for The New York TimesPHOENIX - Representative Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat and former social worker, scored a groundbreaking victory in the race for a Senate seat in Arizona, defeating her Republican opponent after waging a campaign in which she embraced solidly centrist positions.Ms. Sinema's victory over Martha McSally, a Republican congresswoman and former Air Force pilot, marks the first Democratic triumph since 1976 in a battle for an open Senate seat in Arizona.
Sinema's win achieves a longtime Democratic goal of making Arizona, with its growing Latino population, a competitive state. Sinema said that access to affordable health care was a topic that frequently came up when she spoke with voters, and that became a hard point for McSally who had to defend her vote, which was in line with the Trump administration, in support of the proposed Republican repeal of Obamacare.
"A few months ago, Arizona lost a legend who exemplified that spirit and all that is best about Arizona", Sinema said to a room of excited supporters.
Her almost single-issue campaign talked about the importance of healthcare and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
As of Monday, Sinema has 1,097,226 votes (49.74%) to McSally's 1,051,033 (47.9%).
Ms Sinema tailored her campaign for conservative-leaning Arizona rather than the national environment, but it may be a guide for Democrats who hope to expand the electoral map in 2020.
Ms Sinema first came to prominence as an openly bisexual Green Party activist in Phoenix, and Ms McSally criticised the Democrat over her protests against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
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Sinema will be the first woman in the state's 106-year-old history to take a seat on the floor of the U.S. Senate. But over the past few days, Sinema's lead continued to grow.
"Ultimately, Sinema ran a very disciplined campaign for the beginning and her hard work paid off".
The candidate said she wasn't focused on party labels or ideology.
Arizona was once considered a Republican stronghold but the state has become more of a battleground in recent decades.
Preliminary exit poll results suggested that health care was a huge issue for Arizona voters, with 41 percent saying that it was the most important topic to them, squeezing out ahead of immigration, which 32 percent of Arizonans said was their top issue. Of the more than 2.2 million ballots cast, Sinema won by 38,197 votes.
"The way he talks just to the public, it's not right", Villelas said. He liked her message of "I'm going to work with the other side". In this election, Democrats expanded their share in the state legislature, although they're still the minority. John McCain died. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey appointed Republican former Sen.
For now, the win in Arizona means that Democrats have narrowed GOP gains in the Senate to only one seat so far - Republicans defeated incumbents in North Dakota, Indiana and Missouri, but Democrats flipped seats in Nevada and now Arizona.