ARIZONA NEWS

Official: McSally-Sinema Senate winner might not be decided for days

Nov 7, 2018, 6:40 AM | Updated: 3:52 pm
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — It may be a while before Arizona voters know who won the tight U.S. Senate race between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and it’s likely to come down to the early ballots, which were still being counted.

“We’re expecting approximately 500,000 to 600,000 (early ballots to be counted), most of them being in Maricopa County,” Garrett Archer, senior analyst with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, told KTAR News 92.3 FM. It could take the rest of the week or longer.

“It’s not unheard of for a general election … to take seven to 10 days to get through all the early ballots and provisionals,” he said.

“We should start seeing results (by Thursday).”

Archer said the county-by-county process of tallying the early ballots and provisional votes was “fairly resource intensive.”

“If specific race continue to get closer and closer the provisionals could make a big difference,” Archer said.

McSally led, 850,043 to Sinema’s 834,135, a 49.34 percent margin to 48.42 percent.

At around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes announced that his department had around 472,000 ballots left to process.

Overall, the office anticipated 2.1 million to 2.3 million ballots in the state will have been cast for the 2018 midterms.

“We’ve already counted 1.6 million votes on Election Day and that’s the bulk of early ballots throughout the entire state as well as Election Day voters across all the counties,” Archer said.

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.

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Rep.-elect Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., celebrates his win at an election night gathering for Democrats Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. Stanton defeated Republican Steve Ferrara in Arizona's 9th Congressional District. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, R, speaks to supporters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at an election night party in Scottsdale, Ariz. Incumbent Ducey defeated democratic challenger David Garcia for his second term. (AP Photo/Matt York) Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, R, embraces Cindy McCain, wife of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, while speaking to supporters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at an election night party in Scottsdale, Ariz. Incumbent Ducey defeated Democratic challenger David Garcia for his second term. (AP Photo/Matt York) U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., holds his daughter Olivia as he speaks to supporters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at an election night party in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) (KTAR News/Jim Cross) (KTAR News/Jim Cross) (KTAR News/Jim Cross) (KTAR News/Kathy Cline) (KTAR News/Kathy Cline) (KTAR News/Kathy Cline) (KTAR News/Griselda Zetino) (KTAR News/Griselda Zetino) (KTAR News/Griselda Zetino) (KTAR News/Griselda Zetino) An elections official counts ballots at the Tabulation and Election Center, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Arizona Republican senatorial candidate Martha McSally, speaks with voters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at Chase's diner in Chandler, Ariz. McSally and Democratic challenger Kirsten Sinema are seeking the senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who is retiring in January. (AP Photo/Matt York) Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at a relocated polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Chandler, Ariz. The new polling station opened four hours late after the original location did not open due to the buildings' foreclosure overnight. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

A volunteer moves supplies to a relocated polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Chandler, Ariz. The new polling station opened four hours late after the original location did not open due to the buildings' foreclosure overnight. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

A notice sign is seen at a polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Chandler, Ariz. A new polling station opened four hours late after the original location did not open due to the buildings' foreclosure overnight. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Marcicopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes holds an Election Day press conference, Nov. 6, 2018. (KTAR Photo/Ali Vetnar) Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, R, arrives to cast his ballot early Tuesday, Nov 6, 2018 in Paradise Valley, Ariz. Ducey is seeking re-election against Democratic challenger David Garcia. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia serves coffee at a local cafe, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. Garcia is challenging Republican incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Voters head into Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix to cast their ballots on Nov. 6, 2018. (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) Maricopa County elections official Deborah Atkins places a "vote" sign outside a polling station prior to it's opening, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Maricopa County elections official Deborah Atkins hangs "vote" signs outside a polling station prior to it's opening, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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Official: McSally-Sinema Senate winner might not be decided for days