Senate race between Kyrsten Sinema, Martha McSally too close to call
PHOENIX — The race between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema for U.S. Senate was too close to call Tuesday night.
The Arizona Republican Party announced late Tuesday night that they were wrapping up their election night party.
According to the Arizona’s Secretary of State office, McSally was leading the race by a small margin. She had 847,021 votes to Sinema’s 832,441 early Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear what the next steps would be. Arizona’s state law requires an automatic recount when the margin of votes is less than or equal to one-tenth of one percent of the number of votes cast for both candidates.
The bid to replace outgoing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake has been a divisive one, which highlighted issues such as health care, border security, immigration and more.
A close call was not the most unlikely scenario: A majority of polls released since the August primary election showed a neck-in-neck race between McSally and Sinema.
Out of 10 Senate polls conducted in October, according to RealClearPolitics.com, Sinema was leading in all but four, with one Fox News poll showing a tie.
A poll released on Sunday by Trafalgar Group found that Sinema held a three-point lead over McSally, 50 percent to 47 percent, but McSally held a mere 0.2 percent over Sinema when taking undecided voters into account.
The contest also saw more than $90 million in spending, including more than $58 million by outside groups backing one candidate or the other, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
No matter who wins, Arizona will see the first female U.S. senator in state history. If Sinema is declared the winner, Arizona would have its first Democratic senator since the mid-1990s.
The state’s other U.S. Senator, Jon Kyl, was appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey in September after Sen. John McCain died in July following a yearlong battle with brain cancer.
Kyl has said he would only serve until January; if so, the Arizona governor would appoint another Republican to fill the spot.
Voters will decide in a 2020 special election who fills the remainder of McCain’s seat through 2022. Then the seat will be up again for a full six-year term.
Flake won his U.S. Senate election in 2012 by 3.5 percentage points.
KTAR News 92.3 FM brings you complete election coverage all day Tuesday, including post-election coverage until 10 p.m.