A court is scheduled on Thursday to unveil the winners of the Arizona attorney general’s race and two other elections that were so close they triggered mandatory recounts.
The highly anticipated results are among the last in the country to come out of November’s election and could solidify another victory for Democrats who shunned election fraud conspiracies in what used to be a solidly Republican state.
In one of the tightest elections in state history, Democrat Kris Mayes was ahead of Republican Abraham Hamadeh by 511 votes out of 2.5 million before the recount began in the attorney general’s race.
Judge Timothy Thomason also will announce recount results in races for state superintendent of public instruction and a state legislative seat in the Phoenix suburbs.
Hamadeh, who hasn’t conceded to Mayes, had filed a separate challenge of the results in his race, but a judge dismissed that case last week.
Hamadeh alleged problems with ballot printers in Maricopa County had led to a series of issues that disenfranchised voters and that his race was affected by improper handling of ballots that were duplicated or adjudicated by people because they could not be read by tabulators. In throwing out the lawsuit, the judge concluded Hamadeh didn’t prove the errors in vote counting that he had alleged.
In the race for superintendent of public instruction, Republican Tom Horne held a nearly 9,000-vote lead over Democrat Kathy Hoffman before the start of the recount. Hoffman had previously conceded to Horne, a former schools chief who served one term as attorney general before losing the 2014 primary.
Horne had criticized Hoffman for embracing progressive teaching and promised to shut down any hint of “critical race theory,” which is not taught in state schools but is a hot-button issue for social conservatives. He also had said schools were shut down for far too long during the pandemic at Hoffman’s urging.
Republican Liz Harris went into the recount 270 votes ahead of Republican Julie Willoughby in the race for a seat in state House District 13, which includes parts of Chandler, Sun Lakes and Gilbert. Rep. Jennifer Pawlik, an incumbent Democrat, had won one of the district’s two state House seats by a margin of victory that exceeded the threshold for a recount.
Although Republican Kari Lake filed an unsuccessful lawsuit challenging her loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs in the Arizona governor’s race by just over 17,000 votes, the governor’s race wasn’t close enough to automatically force a recount.
Recounts are required in Arizona in races where the margin between the leading candidates is 0.5%. Hobbs defeated Lake by 0.67%.
The judge who dismissed Lake’s case rejected her claim that problems with ballot printers at some polling places on Election Day were the result of intentional misconduct.
Lake, who has not conceded, is appealing the dismissal of her lawsuit with the Arizona Supreme Court. Hobbs takes office as governor on Monday.
Once a Republican stronghold, Arizona’s top races went resoundingly for Democrats. Republicans had nominated a slate of candidates backed by former President Donald Trump who focused on supporting his false claims about the 2020 election. In addition to Hobbs and Mayes, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly was reelected and Democrat Adrian Fontes won the race for secretary of state.
Copyright © 2022 Capitol Hill Blue
Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press