Democrat Kyrsten Sinema retained a tight lead over Republican opponent Martha McSally in Arizona’s midterm election race to replace Jeff Flake in the U.S. Senate as of late Friday.
Maricopa County, Arizona’s far-and-away highest volume voting county, announced it had completed counting ballots Friday. The results bumped Sinema’s slight lead to one percent. Sinema’s lead only emerged after results of additional ballots counted were released late Thursday, two days after the Tuesday midterm election.
The Arizona Secretary of State reported as of Saturday 201,912 ballots cast at polling places, 629,067 early ballots, 1,714 provisional ballots, and 1,176,891 ballots cast in Maricopa County for a grand total of 2,009,584 total ballots counted.
Despite Sinema’s one percent lead over McSally as of Saturday, McSally led in both early ballot and polling place votes. Sinema’s lead came from Maricopa County and, in very small part, provisional ballots, according to Arizona Secretary of State records.
The controversy over ballot counting is not over as details of Maricopa County recorder Adrian Fontes’ history of public support for Democrats and Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders return to public attention. Several county Republican parties have filed a lawsuit against county recorders and the Secretary of State over the practice of calling voters after the election to verify signatures on mail ballots dropped at polling locations on election day.
The only counties with ballots left to be counted as of Saturday were Pima, Pinal, and Yuma Counties. Sinema led in Pima at the time, while McSally led in Pinal and Yuma. Pima had a much higher volume of votes compared to Pinal and Yuma as of Saturday. Each county had counted between 97.73 and 99.20 percent of their precincts reporting.
Sinema has thus far garnered 49.34 percent of the vote with 991,433 ballots cast in her favor. McSally held 48.33 percent of the vote with 971,331 ballots cast in her favor. The difference between the two is a mere 20,102 votes.