The largest county in Arizona could soon start reporting the results of votes left at polling places on Election Day, offering hints about whether Republicans can defeat Democrats in crucial contests for governor and the U.S. Senate.
Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters would need to defeat Democrat incumbent Mark Kelly with more than 60% of the votes still to be counted on Friday. To beat Democrat Katie Hobbs in the run for governor, Republican Kari Lake would need to outperform her.
By early Friday afternoon, Kelly had a 5.6-point advantage over Masters while Hobbs had a mere 1.4-point advantage over Lake.
Republicans have been putting pressure on election officials in Maricopa County, which includes the majority of Arizona voters, to expedite the count since they believe the remaining ballots largely favor them. Republican Bill Gates, chair of the County Board of Supervisors, stated that although the team is working quickly, it takes time to complete the meticulous procedures required by Arizona law.
According to county officials, they had to process a record number of early votes that were delivered on Election Day. Officials have to confirm that each ballot came from a legitimate voter, a process that couldn’t start until Wednesday, so counting those ballots takes time.
Pima County, which encompasses Tucson, still had a substantial number of votes to count. According to figures from the secretary of state, the two urban counties in the state account for 90% of the outstanding ballots.
By winning Arizona and either the still-uncalled Nevada Senate race on Friday or the Georgia runoff next month, either party may secure control of the U.S. Senate.
Democrats believe that some or all of their candidates may be able to hold onto their advantage in Arizona since the remaining ballots are likely to be considerably less favorable to the GOP.
By Friday afternoon, Democrats were in the lead in both the attorney general election and the secretary of state race, each by a margin of 5 points. There were only two points or fewer separating the contenders in two of the state’s uncalled House races. Democratic incumbent Greg Stanton led by 14 points in the third, a far more comfortable margin.