WASHINGTON — Arizona’s critical Senate race has suddenly taken on extra weight since Democrat Mark Kelly could potentially be sworn in early enough to vote on a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg if he wins.
Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of ex-Rep. Gabby Giffords, is favored to prevail over appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally. And Arizona law indicates he could be sworn in by Nov. 30, during the lame-duck session of Congress when Republicans may try to push through a Ginsburg replacement if they are unable to do so before the election.
That could potentially narrow Senate Republicans’ current 53-to-47 majority as they rush to fill the vacancy on the high court before January when a new Congress and possibly new president will be sworn in. Right now, four Senate Republicans would have to defect to block an appointment, but if Kelly is in office, then only three would need to bolt. And all eyes are currently focused on three possible GOP defections — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah.
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