Biden, winning by more votes than are left to count, declared AZ winner




Joe Biden and Kamala Harris arrive to deliver remarks at the Alexis Dupont High School on Aug. 12, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo by Drew Angerer Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner of Arizona’s 11 electoral votes on Thursday night after the latest round of ballots counted that day gave him a lead larger than the number of votes left to count in the state.

On Thursday evening, Maricopa County reported the tally of 4,057 votes. Biden received 2,189 of those to 1,789 for President Donald Trump.

That gave Biden a statewide margin of 11,434 votes with only 10,315 remaining to be counted, making it mathematically impossible that Trump could win the state.

Biden becomes only the second Democrat since 1948 — joining Bill Clinton’s re-election in 1996 — to win the Grand Canyon State. Though long a deep red conservative stronghold, Arizona in the past decade has shifted quickly to a state where Democrats have run competitively in statewide races.

In 2020, the state was cemented as a battleground. Democrat Mark Kelly was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally. For the first time since 1952, Arizona will be represented in the Senate by two Democrats; in 2018, Kyrsten Sinema defeated McSally in the contest for the state’s other Senate seat.

On election night, Fox News and the Associated Press called Arizona in favor of Biden, but other news organizations held off as there were more than a million votes left to count. But shortly after the Maricopa County votes were released Thursday, they all called the state for Biden.

“Maricopa County won the state of Arizona for Mark Kelly and Joe Biden,” said Steven Slugocki, chair of Maricopa County’s Democrats, told CNN. “Here in Maricopa, we committed our resources to contact voters of color, women and traditionally underrepresented groups throughout the state. Our strategy proved to be effective.”

Biden’s win of Arizona’s 11 electoral votes brings his total to 290 while Trump has won 217 electoral votes.

On Friday, the Trump campaign abandoned a legal challenge it brought in Arizona that alleged fraud in the election and sought to overturn Biden’s win.

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.