Sinema claims ‘insurmountable’ lead, Dems make gains in statewide races




Kyrsten Sinema speaking at a Congressional panel at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce's Manufacturer of the Year summit in Phoenix in May 2013. Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore

Kyrsten Sinema is declaring that she will be victorious in the U.S. Senate race, after votes counted on Sunday put her ahead by roughly 32,000 votes with only about 220,000 left to count, the first time since Dennis DeConcini won re-election in 1988 that Arizona will send a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.

“With the latest ballot count, Kyrsten’s lead is insurmountable,” said Andrew Piatt, Sinema’s campaign manager. Sinema’s lead is now one-and-a-half percentage points.

However, her Republican opponent, Martha McSally, has not conceded.

Approximately 162,000 of the ballots left to be counted are in Maricopa County, which is home to about 60 percent of Arizona voters.

Sinema has won nearly 51 percent of the vote in Maricopa County, and leads McSally by more than 46,000 votes. Sinema’s campaign estimated that McSally would need to win more than 60 percent of those outstanding votes to win.

Democrats in other statewide races also celebrated the Sunday vote counts.

Kathy Hoffman declared victory in the race for superintendent of public instruction after her lead over Frank Riggs, the Republican, expanded to nearly 47,000 votes.

“This victory is not just about me or my campaign. It’s about the thousands of teachers and educators who lead our public schools every day,” Hoffman wrote on Twitter after the latest votes were updated.

In the race for Corporation Commission, Democrat Sandra Kennedy expanded her lead, though the contest remains tight: Kennedy leads Republicans Justin Olson and Rodney Glassman in the battle for two seats, and the trio is separated by less than 10,000 votes.

Meanwhile, the race for Secretary of State, Democrat Katie Hobbs has cut the lead of Republican Steve Gaynor from 44,000 on Wednesday to 424 votes on Sunday. For a brief period on Sunday, after ballots from Maricopa County that were counted today were added to the total, Hobbs led by 150 votes. Later tallies from Pinal and Yavapai counties swung the race in Gaynor’s favor.

Arizona law requires a recount in statewide races if the candidates are separated by 200 or fewer votes when all ballots are counted.

*Updated to clarify that the Sinema campaign has not said it has won the race, but that it believes it will win when the remainder of the votes are counted.

Jim Small
Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations.

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