New Jersey native Mark Kelly has a 10-point lead in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona, according to a Monmouth University poll released this morning.
Kelly, a retired astronaut who grew up in West Orange, leads incumbent Republican Martha McSally by a 52%-42% margin. Kelly had been ahead by a 50%-44% margin in a September Monmouth poll.
“Both campaigns have been trying to paint their opponents in a negative light,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “Among that all-important group of independent voters, the image of McSally as a rubberstamp for Trump has more resonance than Kelly being portrayed as in lockstep with the left.”
In a high likely voter model, Kelly also leads, 52%-42%, and leads 51%-45% in a low likely turnout model.
The Monmouth Poll has Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by 6 points, 50%-44%.
The Arizona Senate race is viewed as a pivotal component to a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, something that would make New Jerseyan Bob Menendez the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Kelly flew combat missions as a U.S. Navy pilot during the Gulf War and then became an astronaut on four space shuttle missions. He became one of the nation’s leading gun safety advocates after his wife, Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Arizona) was shot in the head while meeting with constituents in 2011.
A former combat veteran and congresswoman, McSally narrowly lost a 2018 Senate race, but was appointed to fill Arizona’ other Senate seat following the death of John McCain.
Kelly had raised $429,964 from New Jersey as of July 15. This does not include dollars raised over the last three months.