Arizona Republicans and Trump campaign strategists were reassured by Thursday’s ballot counts, which they say positions President Donald Trump to edge ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden, who has led the vote count tally since Tuesday night.
While Trump spent Thursday making false statements about election results and voter fraud, and urged officials to “stop the count,” vote counts in Arizona favored his bid for the state’s 11 electoral college votes.
On Thursday morning, Biden was ahead of Trump in Arizona by about 68,000 votes. When the final vote tallies for the day were reported at 7 p.m., Trump narrowed the gap to about 46,000 votes.
Vote share in #AZ for Presidential race between @realDonaldTrump and @JoeBiden has been tightening since the first 8pm drop. Est 87% of the vote reported! #Election2020 #ElectionTwitter pic.twitter.com/qSI2nnIFuf
— Data Orbital (@Data_Orbital) November 5, 2020
Fox News and the Associated Press called the Arizona presidential contest for Biden several hours after preliminary results were released Tuesday.
Gov. Doug Ducey, a Trump ally who campaigned with the president in the final days before Election Day, said in a press release that media outlets and political pundits shouldn’t declare a winner in Arizona until the vote count is finished.
“We’ve seen dramatic changes to races up and down the ballot since Tuesday night, including for President,” Ducey said. “All of this underlines the importance of not jumping to conclusions in the state of Arizona until there is a final outcome in all counties.”
The Arizona Republican Party said on Twitter the president is “on pace” to win the Grand Canyon State, which he visited seven times to gather hundreds of supporters in indoor and outdoor rallies this year.
But Democrats still have confidence that, while the margin will continue to narrow, Biden would come out on top.
D.J. Quinlan, an advisor to the campaigns of several Democratic congressional candidates and former director of the Arizona Democratic Party, is projecting that ballots counted Friday will favor Biden — and dash the hopes of the Trump campaign, which must win roughly 57% of the outstanding ballots to take the lead in Arizona.
143k ballots counted today, and I hear 280k to go. Trump hit 56.69% Trump needed 57% heading into today with all outstanding ballots. The remaining ballots are less favorable to Republicans. Like I said from the beginning, Trump had votes to cut the margin, but not take a lead.
— DJ Quinlan (@djquinlan) November 6, 2020
On Friday morning, Trump’s path to victory had narrowed significantly. Maricopa County reported nearly 62,000 votes, and Trump won only about 51% of them.
Geoff Burgan, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, said Thursday night on Twitter, “Count the votes + keep the faith with @JoeBiden.”
Rinse and repeat. Get some rest folks.
Democracy can wear you out.
We are winning Arizona. https://t.co/Wb9slfdMs0
— Geoff Burgan (@GeoffBurgan) November 6, 2020
Maricopa County is expected to update results at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday.
Ultimately, it may not matter who wins Arizona’s 11 electoral college votes: In updated figures released early Friday morning, Biden has assumed slim leads in both Georgia and Pennsylvania. Biden has 253 electoral votes without any of the outstanding battlegrounds — Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania — and winning either Georgia’s 16 electoral votes or Pennsylvania’s 20 will give him more than the 270 needed to win the presidency.