PHOENIX – The latest batch of votes counted Monday put the U.S. Senate out of the reach of Republican Martha McSally and into the hands of an Arizona Democrat for the first time since 1994.
Any losing candidate in the general election who is counting on an automatic recount needs to come close to winning.
In statewide races, there is a general law that requires a recount if the margin of votes between the two candidates is one-tenth of one percent. With perhaps 2.3 million votes already counted or yet to be tabulated in the race for U.S. Senate between Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally, that would translate out to about 2,300.
The GOP contender conceded Monday after new results showed Kyrsten Sinema’s lead statewide is now approaching 38,200 votes.
Sinema got another big boost from Pima County, where she is continuing to pick up four votes for every three for McSally.
And her vote edge in what is supposed to be Republican Maricopa County also stretched to 45,000 out of nearly 1.3 million votes tallied so far. That includes nearly 29,000 for Green Party contender Angela Green who dropped out several days before Election Day.
All this is significant because there are now only about 175,000 votes left to be counted.
Most of those – about 143,000 – are in Maricopa County where the numbers from the early ballots that are still being counted have so far broken Sinema’s way.
In fact, to make up Sinema’s lead McSally would have had to to pick up close to three of each of the Maricopa County votes that remain to be counted for every two that are cast for the Democrat.
McSally, in a video released online, congratulated Sinema on her victory – and the fact that Sinema will be the first woman Arizona has sent to the U.S. Senate.
“I wish her all success as she represents Arizona in the Senate,’’ McSally said.
The outcome of the race also means that this will be the first time in five decades that Arizona has sent more Democrats to Washington than Republicans. The last time was in 1967 when Democrat Carl Hayden was one of the state’s two senators and two of the three House seats Arizona had at the time were held by Democrats.
With Ann Kirkpatrick taking the congressional seat that McSally gave up to run for Senate, Arizona will have five Democrats in the U.S. House versus four Republicans. And even with Jon Kyl remaining in the Senate – or whoever Gov. Doug Ducey will appoint should Kyl quit in January – having Sinema as the other senator means a 6-5 delegation.
The new vote tallies also produced welcome news for Democrat Katie Hobbs in her bid for secretary of state.
With all the results of Monday added in, she now is formally nearly 5,700 votes ahead of Steve Gaynor who has found his lead shrinking since the polls closed and the first results were announced. That, however, remains too close to make any reliable predictions.
Incumbent Secretary of State Michele Reagan was out of the running in August after she was defeated in the Republican primary by Gaynor.
Democrat Sandra Kennedy also maintains a 10,000-vote lead over Republican Justin Olson, her closest competitor in the race for Arizona Corporation Commission. But even if that lead evaporates, she still has 15,000 more votes than Rodney Glassman, the other Republican running for one of the two open seats on the utility regulatory panel.
Also finally winning Monday is Democrat Kathy Hoffman in her race for superintendent of public instruction. In fact, her 54,000-vote lead over Republican Frank Riggs is larger than the one that Sinema had over McSally.
She replaces Republican Diane Douglas who was defeated in the GOP primary by Riggs.
The continued strength of Democrats, especially in Maricopa County, showed up in other ways with the latest vote tallies.
Democrat Jennifer Pawlik, seeking one of two state House seats in LD 17 in Chandler, now is outpolling incumbent Republican Jeff Weninger, though just barely. But she definitely is doing better than Nora Ellen, the other Republican in the race for the two open seats.
But incumbent Republican Sen. Kate Brophy McGee of Phoenix continues to hold on to a slim lead – just 549 votes – over Democrat Christine Marsh who is trying to unseat her.
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