Democrats Clinch Another Swing State AG Race After Votes Tallied

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Democrats have seemingly won the race for the post of state Attorney General in Arizona, which has lately become known as a swing state, although Democrats have scored win after win in elections there within the last several years.

Kris Mayes, who was Democrats’ pick in the race, ended up a little over 500 votes ahead of her Republican challenger with all ballots reported, although the race will be heading to an automatic recount because the margin between the candidates is under a half of a percentage point. An elections official in Maricopa County, which is the state’s largest by population, estimated that the recount would stretch into the end of December. According to available info, it seems as though the recount process will hinge upon retabulating the votes by machine — equipment that will be checked again before the additional counts are done. Alongside that process, a sample of ballots will be recounted by hand and compared against the machine totals. The race to be state superintendent of public instruction will also be recounted.

Hayes expressed confidence the recount would lead to the same ultimate outcome, with her winning. Abe Hamadeh, who is a vet and had Trump’s backing, pointed to supposed issues in Maricopa County in responding to the latest developments in the race. “We’re not done fighting and we are optimistic the recount will further expose the gross incompetence and mismanagement by Maricopa County officials that disenfranchised and silenced the voices of so many Arizona voters,” he complained. On Election Day, ballot-scanning devices in the county weren’t properly working, although some were still available and voters who confronted the problem at their polling location still had other options to cast their ballots. Although there were logistical headaches for local officials and voters, it therefore doesn’t seem as though there was any sort of widespread loss or destruction of ballots or complete shutdown of polling places. There were simply procedural problems that local authorities quickly worked to address.

As for Hamadeh himself, he stuck with the far-right in his campaign messaging, suggesting there could be drastically different ways forward for the state attorney general’s office depending on who won. An ad he posted early last month begins with black-and-white and intentionally grainy footage of what seems like a burning car with a voiceover proclaiming that “drugs and crime are pouring in” — so, yeah: that’s the sort of thing the Hamadeh campaign was promoting. The outgoing state attorney general, Democrat Katie Hobbs, was newly elected as Arizona governor. Democrats also won in the Arizona race for Secretary of State, with Adrian Fontes defeating election-denying state legislator Mark Finchem, whose past even includes aligning himself with the far-right group the Oath Keepers.

Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons