News & Politics

Sinema Widens Lead Over McSally in Arizona

U.S. Senate candidates, U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., left, and U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., prepare their remarks in a television studio prior to a televised debate, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

In the still-undecided Senate race in Arizona, Republican Martha McSally fell farther behind Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in a vote count that has the GOP antsy, but not yet at the level of the disaster unfolding in Florida.

On Friday morning, Sinema’s lead over McSally was razor-thin at 0.48 percent — with just over 9,000 votes separating them. But at last tally late Friday night, Sinema’s lead had widened to over 1 percent, about 20,000 votes.

As noted by Rick Moran on Friday, most of the votes now being counted, added largely to Sinema’s total, are from Maricopa County, which has the GOP more than concerned.

Local Republicans have brought a legal case against Fontes and other county recorders over the verification of signatures on some early ballots.

Fontes has argued that verifying the signatures ensures all legitimate votes are counted. Republicans say the practice is inconsistent because other county recorders don’t try to verify ballots with mismatched signatures beyond Election Day.

Assertions of election fraud in Arizona ricocheted through talk radio and Republican Facebook groups Thursday night and Friday morning, as some perpetuated the idea that McSally’s reversed lead was the result of a fraudulent or unfair process.

There are still about 360,000 ballots uncounted in Arizona this morning. Votes are being tallied across the state, but many counted yesterday, toward that growing margin, were from Maricopa, where Sinema picked up about a 2.5 percent lead.

On Friday, Arizona Republican Chairman Jonathan Lines flat-out said that the Maricopa County recorder, Democrat Adrian Fontes, “cannot be trusted to administer elections in Arizona.”