Many Az elections too close to call, with 500k-plus ballots left to count
Voters pick new Arizona governor, fill top state offices & Legislature, & determine makeup of U.S. Senate & House delegation
Democrats led many major races across Arizona on Tuesday night as the first vote counts were released. But Republican turnout was strong on Election Day, and many races trended their way as more votes were tallied. In Pima County alone, at least 50,000 ballots remain to be counted, and about 500,000 across the state.
About 45,000 early ballots received prior to Election Day have yet to be tabulated, and a few vote centers also remain to be added to the count in Pima County. Officials were determining how many more early ballots were dropped off in person or received in the mail on Tuesday, and how many provisional ballots there were to verify and potentially count. That could be tens of thousands more ballots to be added.
Across the state, even more ballots remain to be tallied — about half a million, including some 428,000 ballots in Maricopa County.
Democrats led many major races across Arizona on Tuesday night as the first vote counts were released. Up early were Sen. Mark Kelly, gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs and U.S. House candidate Kirsten Engel.
Most of the Democrats were up by a dozen points early, while Kelly led GOP candidate Blake Masters by about 17 points.
But the lead for Hobbs dwindled, and Engel began trailing by a couple of thousand votes, with both races essentially tied as counting continued into the night and Wednesday morning.
Even so, races are still too close to call, with Republicans still banking on yet-to-be-counted ballots cast on Tuesday to make up the difference, and Kelly didn't claim victory Tuesday night.
Speaking around 11:30 p.m., after hours of incremental updates in the votes counted around Arizona, Mark Kelly stopped short of claiming a win.
Thanking supporters at the Rialto Theatre for their hard work, Kelly quoted the late U.S. Sen. John McCain in saying "we have so much more in common than we disagree about."
"Now there is there is no country in the world better at solving big problems in the United States of America. We put people on the moon in the 1960s. And we’re about to do it again, by the way. And then we’ll go on to Mars. We are capable of extraordinary things when we come together and just put our minds to it. Yeah, that’s who we are. We create, we innovate. We build. That’s what we’re capable of when our leaders focus on unity rather than division," Kelly said.
"I’ll tell you what, I’m feeling confident tonight. At the same time, it doesn’t look like we’re gonna have the final results for a little while," Kelly said.
Juan Ciscomani, facing Engel in the CD 6 congressional race, urged supporters at the El Conquistador resort to "keep the faith" as he trailed by about 11 points around 10 p.m. "We're hopeful that we'll catch up and things will turn around."
Earlier, Engel told a small crowd of Democrats gathered at Hotel Congress that "we're fighting to renew the American Dream, and if given the chance, we will. It's up to the voters now. Let's just hope they make the right decision."
By 12:30 a.m., further updates in the vote count narrowed Engel's lead to just 5 points.
Former congressman Ron Barber, across the street at the Rialto Theatre for a rally for Sen. Mark Kelly, noted early in the evening that he lost his race by 167 votes and said, "Don't worry about close races; that's how it is in Arizona."
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, expected to coast to re-election, was leading GOP challenger Luis Pozzolo by a 2-1 margin
While most Arizona voters are early voters, those who hadn't yet cast their election ballots could do so in person Tuesday — with Pima County's new "vote center" model seeming to recover from the hiccups reported in the August primary. Long lines were reported at several locations around Tucson.
Polls closed at 7 p.m. The first release of election results came after 8 p.m., and included the early votes cast prior to Election Day.
Ballots cast at vote centers will begin to be counted Tuesday evening, while dropped early ballots that were off in person on Tuesday be counted in the coming days. In most elections, nearly all ballots are counted by the Friday after the election, but some provisional ballots can take longer to verify and be added to the count.
Voters were casting ballots to pick a new Arizona governor, determine the makeup of the Legislature and other top state offices, as well as pick the members of the U.S. House delegation and choose a U.S. senator. A number of propositions were also on the ballot, and local school board races rounded things out.
The most up-to-date vote totals are available at the Arizona Secretary of State's Office site:
Check back for updates.