Maricopa County’s long-awaited drop of 71,000 ballots on Monday night locked in three key races for Democrats: governor, secretary of state, and senator. The vote results remain unofficial, with two statewide races remaining close.
Republicans easily won the state treasurer’s race with incumbent Kimberly Yee at the helm, leading Democratic challenger Martín Quezada nearly 56 to 44 points.
Quezada retweeted political commentary indicating that the Democratic Party didn’t offer him enough support, financial or otherwise.
Incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly will likely win handily over Republican challenger Blake Masters, 51 to 46 percent.
It appears that Masters issued a preliminary concession on Friday, preparing for what Monday’s returns made more apparent.
Democrat Katie Hobbs will be Arizona’s 24th governor, becoming the fifth woman to do so. Hobbs pulled in 50 percent of the vote to Republican opponent Kari Lake’s 49 percent. Hobbs announced that she won on Monday, but Lake didn’t concede.
Rather, Lake questioned why Maricopa County’s top election officials, Recorder Stephen Richer and Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, launched a political action committee (PAC) to defeat certain Republicans.
Democrat Adrian Fontes prevailed over Republican Mark Finchem in the Secretary of State race, bringing in 52 percent over Finchem’s 47 percent. Fontes declared victory on Monday morning, long before the ballot drop that night.
Finchem refused to believe the results of Monday’s ballot counts. He reminded voters that the polls didn’t reflect the results at all, challenging the ballots’ validity.
Several races remained too close to call. In the race for superintendent of public instruction, Republican Tom Horne leads Democrat incumbent Kathy Hoffman by .02 percent — just over 6,400 votes. In the attorney general’s race, Democrat Kris Mayes also leads Republican Abraham Hamadeh by .02 percent: nearly 3,200 votes.
Greenlee and La Paz counties had 100 percent of their votes completed. Yavapai and Gila counties had over 99 percent of their votes completed as of Monday night. Maricopa County had nearly 99 percent of votes completed. Yuma and Pima counties had 98 percent of votes completed. Coconino County had 97 percent of votes completed. Pinal and Navajo counties had 94 percent of votes completed. Cochise County had nearly 91 percent of votes completed. At the rear, Apache County had 74 percent of votes completed.
A court ruled against a request to extend Maricopa County polling hours despite mass voting machine failures, after Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) petitioned to reject the request. Kelly is in a highly contested race against one of the GOP candidates that filed suit, Republican challenger Blake Masters.
Two Republican candidates, Masters and Kari Lake, filed an emergency request on Tuesday afternoon to extend the polling hours to 10 pm, after the mass failure of tabulation machines across the county for over eight hours. This extensive failure resulted in issues such as voters spoiling ballots, leaving without voting, or unwillingly casting a provisional ballot.
One of the lawyers that filed the case, Harmeet Dhillon remarked that Kelly’s intervention was hypocrisy given his public commitments to thwarting voter disenfranchisement.
“Goes to show you that Democrats’ platitudes about voting rights are often situational, at best,” said Dhillon.
A lawyer for the Arizona GOP, Alex Kolodin, called the court’s rejection “unfortunate” in an interview with “The Conservative Circus.” Kolodin shared that frustrated voters left polls, or were forced to cast a provisional ballot after they checked in at a malfunctioning vote center. The law doesn’t allow for voters to cast a ballot at another polling location after they’ve checked in at one location.
“The campaigns tried to explain to the judge that this was a very unique situation with this widespread issue where voters really were deprived of the right to vote and that made it a unique circumstance that warranted keeping the polls open a couple extra hours,” said Kolodin.
Kolodin said that at least 33 to 40 percent of vote centers were affected by tabulation machine failures. Kolodin stated that the timing marks on the ballots likely weren’t printed properly, which meant the tabulators couldn’t read them.
Kolodin added that printers have been a major issue for Maricopa County since the 2020 election, and were at the root of the SharpieGate controversy.
“It’s funny, the county has known about ballot printing issues for two years,” said Kolodin.
As the end of Election Day drew near, Republican candidates Blake Masters (Senate) and Kari Lake (gubernatorial) filed an emergency motion in court to keep Maricopa County polls open until 10 pm. Polls close at 7 pm.
The complaint cited that voters were convinced by poll workers to spoil (discard) their ballots or not vote at all. Reportedly, those voters convinced to spoil their ballots were erroneously told that they could again cast a vote at another location.
“[N]umerous individuals presenting to vote at some or all of these locations were unlawfully induced by poll workers to discard their ballots or otherwise forfeit their opportunity to cast a legally sufficient vote,” stated the complaint. “Immediate judicial intervention is necessary to prevent irreparable injury to the Plaintiffs, vindicate the clear directives of the Arizona Legislature, ensure the fair and equal treatment of all Maricopa County electors guaranteed by the Arizona Constitution, and secure the integrity of the results of the November 8, 2022 general election.”
The lawsuit stated that at least 36 percent of all vote centers in Maricopa County experienced ballot tabulation machine failures — or, about 80 vote centers. That’s an increase from the noontime estimate given by Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, who said that about 60 vote centers, or 27 percent, were impacted by malfunctioning tabulators.
As AZ Free News reported Tuesday, it took officials eight hours to announce the potential cause for the tabulation failures: printer settings.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) and an individual, former state legislator and elector Jill Norgaard, joined in the petition.
In addition to keeping vote centers open, the group also asked the court to suspend the public release of tabulated early ballot returns in the county until 11 pm. They also asked that polling inspectors allow voters to complete and cast a provisional ballot if they’re recorded as having already cast a vote.
With one week left to go before the election, the Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly and Republican challenger Blake Masters tightened up even more.
On Tuesday, Libertarian candidate Marc Victor dropped out of the race and endorsed Masters after speaking with the GOP candidate about his platform. Victor said that his main purpose in running was to ensure the protection of freedom and endorse his global peace advocacy organization, Live and Let Live.
Victor declared that Masters, not Kelly, aligned with his vision for improving America.
“I think we need to unite the reasonable people of the world,” said Victor. “Given where we are right now and given our options right now, Blake Masters is the best choice for United States Senate.”
Registered libertarians account for less than one percent of all voters (32,148) while independents account for nearly 34 percent of all voters (over 1.4 million). Together, that’s several hundred less than total registered Republicans (over 1.43 million) and nearly 166,000 more than registered Democrats (over 1.27 million).
Victors’ withdrawal and endorsement comes nearly a month into voting. Early voting began nearly three weeks ago, on October 12.
According to the latest poll released Tuesday, Kelly and Masters are neck and neck at 47 percent. The average of all previous polling reflects Kelly leading Masters by three points.
While Masters’ latest campaign boost came from a now-former opponent, Kelly showcased a campaign boost from the original Luke Skywalker: famed Star Wars actor Mark Hamill.
Ousted Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) told Arizona State University (ASU) students to fight back and stop Republican leaders from coming to Arizona to campaign for Trump-backed candidates. Cheney suggested punishments for those GOP officials, as part of her remarks during the fifth installment of the ASU McCain Institute’s series “Defending American Democracy.”
Cheney made an example of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), saying he should “know better” than coming to Arizona to campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. Cruz attended a fundraising event for Lake on Wednesday.
Yet shortly after giving that advice, Cheney lamented that “too often, conservative views are canceled.” Cheney also advised the students to vote for Democrats even if they’re Republicans.
Shortly after her loss in August, Cheney launched a $15 million initiative through her political action committee (PAC) to defeat Trump-backed candidates.
At the opening of the ASU event, McCain Institute Executive Director Evelyn Farkus explained that Cheney was their latest guest speaker because she’s the “epitome of American political courage,” having sacrificed her political career by standing up for her values.
The McCain Institute’s first-ever Democracy Fellow, Sophia Gross, interviewed Cheney. Gross said Cheney exemplified a courage and set of values that young men and women should look up to in order to better themselves and serve their country.
The McCain Institute stated that the goal of the series is to advance citizens “beyond politics” in order to make America a city on a hill. It’s partially funded by the Knight Foundation, a left-leaning organization.
The four prior events in the “Defending American Democracy” series focused on the dangers of the decline and disappearance of local journalism, implications of verbal threats to election officials, protections for election infrastructure against cyberattacks, and plans to counteract hate.
In this event, Cheney fixed her remarks on several general topics: former President Donald Trump, January 6, and the Russo-Ukrainian War.
Cheney said that the main lesson of the January 6 invasion of the Capitol was that institutions can’t defend themselves, it takes individuals. Cheney insinuated that government institutions were the victims — not citizens. Cheney also commended those who testified before her January 6 Committee: Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, and Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers. Richer and Gates were reportedly present at the ASU event.
“Arizona and our nation owes Rusty a debt of gratitude,” said Cheney.
Concerning the January 6 invasion of the Capitol, Cheney claimed that Trump didn’t take action to stop the trespassers. She quickly backtracked with a self-correction, noting that the former president did take action but complained that it took him “187 minutes.” Cheney stated repeatedly that Trump was attempting to destroy democracy.
“No nation can have a leader who is so derelict in his duty,” declared Cheney.
At one point, Cheney predicted that the nation was heading toward a future as similar and troublesome as the Holocaust. She issued that prediction as she relayed a recent conversation with a young woman from Wyoming whose grandparents escaped the Holocaust. That young woman reportedly expressed worry to Cheney that America would no longer be a place of refuge like it was when her grandparents escaped.
“I think that’s a very real and serious concern,” said Cheney.
Cheney also said that she’s proud of the January 6 Committee, assuring the audience that it was non-partisan. Cheney said she most respects her fellow select committee and other Democrats, especially those women on the armed service committee.
“I never imagined that I would find myself spending so much time with Democrats. I’m sure they’re surprised to be spending so much time with me as well,” said Cheney “Everybody should be represented by the people that they know are going to do the hard work.”
Cheney said that America needs to get involved in Ukraine’s war against Russia. She said that was a hallmark of patriotism. Cheney also indicated that anyone opposed to her beliefs belonged to the “Russian” wing of the Republican Party.
Toward the end of the event, Cheney opined that true patriotism meant an allegiance to a fundamental sense of human freedom, of inalienable rights from God and not the government.
“Being a patriot means first and foremost loving our country more. We can say to each other ‘we’re Democrats, we’re Republicans, but we love our country more,’ and we’ll act in accordance with that. That means you’ll put your country above politics, your political career,” said Cheney.