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Sinema grows US Senate race lead over McSally for fourth straight day

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Democrat Kyrsten Sinema widened her lead over Republican Martha McSally for the fourth consecutive day in the drawn-out U.S. Senate race, prompting Sinema’s campaign to declare her lead “insurmountable.”

Sinema’s advantage on Sunday grew from about 29,000 votes to 33,000 following several county-wide updates, including Maricopa.

From the Sinema campaign:

With the latest ballot count, Kyrsten’s lead is insurmountable. McSally’s campaign said today’s results would be her ‘firewall’ but as we expected, no firewall emerged. McSally has lost every batch of votes from Maricopa County and today, Kyrsten won by 6.25 percent – nearly double her overall performance in the county to date. Kyrsten has now expanded her overall lead to 32,640 or 1.52 percent, meaning McSally would have to win the remainder of Maricopa County ballots by 22 percent to take the lead in this race. This is not plausible. Kyrsten will be declared the next U.S. Senator from Arizona.

At the end of Election Day, McSally held a 17,000 vote advantage.

It was surpassed by Sinema after Thursday’s count, grew to a 20,000 vote advantage for Sinema following the count on Friday and then to 29,000 on Saturday.

Both campaigns released statements following Saturday’s count reaffirming confidence in winning the election.

Sinema’s pointed to her growing lead.

Make no mistake: this was an incredibly disappointing day for Martha McSally. Her meager gains in the rural counties were totally wiped out by Kyrsten’s continued strong performance in Maricopa County and across the state. Here’s where things stand: McSally gained 47,837 votes and Kyrsten gained 57,466 votes to grow her lead to 29,832 votes or 1.41 percent. McSally can hope for a miracle tomorrow night but the data show it won’t happen.

McSally’s said her success in rural areas gave her hope for a turnaround.

Today our vote total grew at a greater rate than expected, and we expanded our vote margins in rural areas counting mail-in ballots dropped off on election day. The latest release provides compelling evidence that the remaining uncounted ballots are favorable to Martha. And we will continue our effort to make sure all lawful ballots are counted.

There are now about 162,000 ballots remaining in Maricopa County that have to be counted and thousands more across the state before a 5 p.m. deadline on Wednesday, set in a court settlement last Wednesday.

The deadline allows county recorders time to “cure” early ballots by matching signatures on the ballot with voter registration signatures, and to make sure that voters did not submit an early ballot and a ballot on election night.

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said his office will continue counting through the weekend, on Veterans Day and into next week, until all votes are counted, and making daily reports at 5 p.m.

He said the county’s equipment can process only around 75,000 ballots a day.

If the margin of victory by either candidate is less than one-tenth of one percent, the race will head to a run-off between the two candidates.

There are three nationwide Senate seats that are yet to be determined with Republicans holding a 51-46 advantage in the legislative chamber.

The race between Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy is headed for a runoff in Mississippi, since neither candidate reached a 50 percent majority of votes.

In Florida, the race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson is headed for a recount since the margin of victory was less than one-half of one percent.

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