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Grijalva wins, Giffords widening lead

CD 8 still too close to call with many ballots uncounted

In CD 7, Rep. Raul Grijalva has opened up his lead over Republican challenger Ruth McClung, virtually guaranteeing a win. At 5 p.m. Thursday, Grijalva was up by 6,000 votes.

Grijalva gave a victory speech late on Election Night, but McClung hadn't given up on the close race.

"Until every last ballot has been counted, recorded and certified, I will not be conceding this election," she said in an email sent Wednesday afternoon.

"Regardless of what happens, tonight I believe we have shown America that there is no safe seat," McClung told supporters early on Tuesday evening.

Grijalva won his previous four House races with more than 60 percent of the vote. Giffords won her previous two congressional elections by more than 10 points each time.

With thousands of Pima County ballots still to be counted, Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is widening a narrow lead over GOP challenger Jesse Kelly in CD 8. New numbers released at 5:22 on Thursday show Giffords leading by 3,000 votes.

Giffords' campaign staff expressed confidence late Tuesday that the lead would hold, as her lead in early ballots was about 10,000 votes, and a significant number of early ballots were turned in at polling places on Tuesday.

"This election is going to go down in history as one of the angriest," Giffords told the Democratic crowd around 10 p.m. "But while other campaigns across the country stooped to levels lower than we have ever seen before, our campaign stood up for the people."

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"It looks like it's going to be tight like we thought," Kelly told a thinning crowd of Republicans gathered at the Doubletree Hotel around 9 p.m., "but I think we're going to do it."

About 25,000 early ballots were dropped off at the polls Tuesday. Those ballots will be processed by the Pima County Recorder's Office on Wednesday and sent to the Elections Division to be counted.

The 12,500 provisional ballots — those cast by voters who showed up in person after requesting an early ballot, by voters who had incomplete identification or other problems at the polls — may take longer to tally. The Recorder's Office has 10 days to investigate those ballots, to determine if they should be counted.

Although the state released new election totals at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Pima County hasn't updated its vote tally since 5 p.m. Thursday.

U.S. Sen. John McCain earned a decisive victory Tuesday night, beating former Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman 59-34 percent to retain his seat.

Glassman said he is proud of his campaign and is going to focus on his duties as an officer in the Reserves, and on changing the diapers of his soon-to-born baby daughter.

McCain thanked Glassman for his "honorable campaign," Glassman said. "I just implored him to keep the focus on us — Arizona," the Democrat said.

Glassman declined to address the rumors — rampant in Democratic circles — that he will run for mayor of Tucson following his Senate loss.

Tucson's Propositions 400 and 401, which would have added a half-cent to the city sales tax and changed the city's charter, were defeated handily, with nearly two-thirds voting down both.

Republicans swept every statewide office.

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Gov. Jan Brewer won the governorship in her own right, defeating Terry Goddard 55-41 percent.

Incumbent Secretary of State Ken Bennett held off Chris Deschene, 58-41 percent. Tom Horne led Felecia Rotellini by 52-47 percent. Doug Ducey defeated Andrei Cherny in the state treasurer's race 52-40 percent. John Huppenthal won the Superintendent of Public Instruction race 55-44 over Penny Kotterman. In the Corporation Commission races, Brenda Burns and Gary Pierce won over Democrats David Bradley and the recently deceased Jorge Luis Gonzales. Joe Hart beat Manuel Cruz in the state mine inspector's race, 57-42 percent.

Propositions 301 and 302, which would have swept funding for conservation and First Things First, were both crushed at the polls, with 74 and 69 percent voting no.

Rep. Trent Franks won reelection over Democrat John Thrasher in CD 2. The Republican will return to Congress for a fifth term.

Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick was unseated by Republican Paul Gosar in CD 1. Democrat Rep. Harry Mitchell lost his seat to Republican challenger David Schweikert in CD 5.

As polls closed throughout the nation, Republicans gathered at the Doubletree Hotel in midtown Tucson cheered.

"Hopefully, there'll be a big payoff for everybody here tonight," Tucson Tea Party organizer Trent Humphries told the crowd.

Democrats, meanwhile, were a bit glum. While those gathered at the University Marriott maintained a hopeful attitude, some party leaders in Phoenix weren't so cheery.

“The national economic climate has been so toxic that it’s gotten in the way of our breaking through on some key issues that matter – jobs, a strong Arizona economy and good public schools,” state Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, the assistant House minority leader, told Cronkite News Service. “Instead, the voters are responding to local and national frustration.”

Election returns

 
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Rep. Giffords works the crowd.

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