Democrat Kris Mayes ekes out narrow win for Arizona attorney general; beating GOP's Abe Hamadeh by 510
Race headed for automatic recount of 2,592,312 ballots cast
Democratic candidate Kris Mayes has narrowly won the race for Arizona attorney general, beating Trumpist Republican Abe Hamadeh by 510 votes as the final batches of votes were counted. The race is headed for an automatic recount of what is the closest race for attorney general in state history.
Mayes was leading by 850 votes Saturday night, after a large update from Maricopa County. A final update from Arizona's largest county gave some votes to Hamadeh, but not nearly enough to close the gap.
Mayes won with 1,254,612 votes across the state, with Hamadeh at 1,254,102 total votes.
"We knew this race would be close," Mayes said after the final ballots were counted. "The polls showed us that. And we know we have a recount ahead."
"Every vote mattered — and this race is surely a testament to that," said the Democrat, thanking her supporters. "As we head into this recount with a 510-vote lead, we feel confident that the end result will be the same, and I'm very much looking forward to being your Lawyer for the People."
"Let's lead with hope and humility versus divisiveness and chaos," she said in a press release.
Hamadeh, who has spent days posting unfounded conspiracist claims about misconduct in the election, had no immediate public reaction to the release of the final batch of votes.
An update of the final 3,559 ballots from Maricopa County on Monday afternoon split 856-516 for the Republican, but the election remained out of reach for Hamadeh.
Under Arizona law, any margin of 0.5% or less triggers an automatic recount of the race. Mayes' winning percentage is far less than that. That process could take about two weeks, and will not begin until the votes are canvassed in each county, and then by state officials on Dec. 5.
Prior to last Sunday, Mayes had been leading by about 20,000 votes, but the margin narrowed throughout the week as more ballots were tabulated. While Mayes generally held a lead, at many points her margin was less than 1,000 votes. Over the weekend, that fell to 850, and then just 510 votes.
While Mayes holds a slim margin of victory, it's not even close to being the closest statewide race in Arizona history.
In 1916, Gov. George WP Hunt, the state's first governor and the incumbent Democrat, won over Thomas Campbell by just 43 votes. At the time, Arizona's population was just 282,000 people.
Hunt's third election to what were then just two-year terms was not without controversy. Initial results showed Campbell had won by 30 votes, but Hunt refused to leave office until forced by the Arizona Supreme Court. He kept up his court fight, and more than a year after the election was declared the winner by 43 votes.
In 1918, Campbell won over Fred Colter by 339 votes, with Hunt not seeking re-election.
But Hunt ran again in 1922, winning three straight terms — including the 1926 contest with Elias Clark by 399 votes.
The previous closest race for attorney general was George Purdy Bullard's win over G.D. Christy by 1,650 votes in 1911, taking office as Arizona became a state in 1912. at the time, Arizona had just 212,000 residents.
The recount is unlikely to change the outcome of the count released Monday.
Previous recounts in Arizona have not changed more than a handful of votes. In the 2014 congressional election between U.S. Rep. Ron Barber and GOP challenger Martha McSally, the Republican tacked on just 6 votes to her winning total after a recount ended the race on Dec. 17. McSally won that race by just 167 votes, out of 219,261 cast.
Follow the count
The most up-to-date vote totals are available at the Arizona Secretary of State's Office site: