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Elections

Kyrsten Sinema Takes the Lead in Arizona as Ballots Continue to Be Counted

Kyrsten Sinema speaks with supporters in Phoenix, Ariz., October 24, 2018. (Gage Skidmore)

The Arizona Senate election is in the balance once again as ballots continue to be counted. With approximately 500,000 votes left to tally, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema pulled ahead of Martha McSally by a few thousand votes yesterday. At latest count, she leads by approximately 9,000 votes. Jon Tester’s win in Montana and an ongoing recount in the Florida race have made this seat increasingly crucial to Republican hopes of an expanded Senate majority — a majority that could soon be at the center of mounting tensions over the Justice Department and the special-counsel probe. A lot is riding on the outcome.

Rob O’Dell breaks down where the outstanding votes are coming from in the Arizona Republic. 345,000 votes are left in Maricopa County, where Sinema, so far, leads 50.2 percent to 47.7 percent. 54,000 votes are left in Pima County, where Sinema won nearly 56 percent of the vote. Another 31,800 ballots are left in Pinal County, where McSally won 56 percent, and thousands of ballots remain to be tallied in another handful of counties. Elections analysts have pointed out that all of this is normal for Arizona, where most voters mail in their votes, and Arizona’s secretary of state has more information on the process for counting ballots. All that’s unusual in this case is simply the closeness of the election.

What does this mean for the two candidates’ chances? It’s difficult to say. Republicans generally lead in ballots sent by mail in Arizona, but most remaining ballots are coming from places where Sinema performed well. Both McSally and Sinema say they are confident in their chances, which is par for the course. For now, all there is to do is wait. Maricopa County will announce a new batch of votes at 7 P.M. Eastern.

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