Sinema continues to inch ahead in slow Arizona vote count
Democrat Kyrsten Sinema is continuing to inch ahead in the slow-motion finish to Arizona’s U.S. Senate race.
On Saturday night, she remained a little more than a percentage point ahead of Republican Martha McSally. She gained 4,000 votes from a batch of ballots tallied in Maricopa County as well as a few thousand from elsewhere in the state.
The battle for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake, the Republican ridiculed by President Donald Trump, is just getting started. Arizona’s election officials say it could take days for a winner to emerge as they steadily count hundreds of thousands of ballots.
McSally, 52, is hoping for a late shift toward her in the remaining ballots. There are more than 250,000 outstanding.
At first, McSally looked as if she could win by a razor-thin margin. Then the Green party emerged as a potential spoiler, even though its candidate had dropped out of the race. Now Sinema has taken the lead.
Trump is weighing in, claiming without offering proof that corruption is tainting the race. The chair of the Arizona Republican Party is accusing the top election official in Phoenix of voter fraud, prompting angry rebuttals from Democrats who seem to be clawing back in a Republican bastion.
“Welcome to the new Arizona,” said Joseph Garcia of the Latino Public Policy Center at Arizona State University. “We’re slowly shifting from a red conservative state to a blue progressive state. Will this process be smooth at every turn? No way.”