BREAKING: Martha McSally defeats Daniel McCarthy to secure GOP Senate nomination

AZ Central reports Sen. Martha McSally defeated businessman Daniel McCarthy, who is challenging her from the right, on Tuesday in Arizona’s Republican Senate primary race.

McSally will face a general-election showdown against Democrat Mark Kelly, the retired NASA astronaut and gun control activist, that is expected to be much more competitive.

The Associated Press called the GOP Senate race shortly after the first returns arrived.

Kelly faced no competitive challenge in the Democratic primary election, setting up a clear path to win his party’s nomination while positioning himself months ago for a general-election fight against McSally.

McSally was appointed to the seat following the 2018 death of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and after losing her Senate run in 2018. As the incumbent, she was seen as the favorite over McCarthy, who likened his bid to Donald Trump’s first insurgent race for the presidency.

Tuesday’s special-election primary results are expected to usher in a long-anticipated contest featuring McSally and Kelly, two retired combat veterans from Tucson who present contrasting visions for the nation on health care, economics and immigration.

The seat is key to determining control of the U.S. Senate, which Republicans now hold by a narrow margin.

Both parties, and their special-interest allies, are a mounting expensive, pitched battle to sway voters in the race as it takes its most significant turn with an eye towards November.