Democrat Kris Mayes finishes ahead in Arizona attorney general race; recount pending

Nov 21, 2022, 2:38 PM | Updated: 3:29 pm
Arizona Democratic Attorney General candidate Kris Mayes speaks to supporters at an election night ...
Arizona Democratic Attorney General candidate Kris Mayes speaks to supporters at an election night watch party at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel on Nov. 8, 2022. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Democrat Kris Mayes finished barely ahead of Republican Abe Hamadeh in the race for Arizona attorney general, but her victory won’t be official until a full recount.

Mayes’ final advantage was a minuscule 510 votes, or .02 percentage points, out of over 2.5 million votes cast, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

Maricopa County, the last county to finish counting, turned in its final update on Monday afternoon. The last batch favored Hamadeh, but not enough for him to make up what was an 850-vote deficit heading into the day.

Mayes said her campaign would be awaiting the results of the recount.

“As we head into this recount with a 510-vote lead, we feel confident that the end result will be the same and I am very much looking forward to being your lawyer for the people,” Mayes said in a statement.

Hamadeh said in a statement he wasn’t done fighting.

The race is one of two statewide contests that finished close enough to trigger an automatic recount, along with superintendent of public instruction.

Counties have until Nov. 28 to canvass their results and send them to the Secretary of State’s Office, which is scheduled to do a statewide canvass on Dec. 5. After that, the recount process will begin. The recount will be done with electronic tabulators and is expected to take several weeks.

The Nov. 8 election was the first under a new state law that requires a full recount for races with a margin within .5 percentage points. While Republican Tom Horne’s victory of .36 percentage points wouldn’t have gone to recount under the previous threshold of .1 percentage points, the attorney general contest finished well within the old standard.

If her victory is confirmed, Mayes will become the Arizona 26th attorney general.

Mayes, an attorney and former Republican who served on the Arizona Corporation Commission, pledged during her campaign to tackle issues such as consumer fraud, elder abuse and fentanyl abuse.

Hamadeh, a former prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, won the GOP nomination on the strength of an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

If the attorney general result stands, it would mean defeat for every Trump-endorsed statewide candidate in Arizona. Trump also endorsed Kari Lake in the governor’s race, Mark Finchem for secretary of state and Blake Masters for U.S. Senate.

The race for one seat in the Arizona House of Representatives is also within the new recount threshold. Liz Harris finished .2 percentage points ahead of fellow Republican Julie Willoughby for the second seat in District 13.

Regardless of which Republican gets that seat, the GOP is emerging from the election with same narrow control of both chambers that the party has now: 31-29 in the House and 16-14 in the Senate.

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Democrat Kris Mayes finishes ahead in Arizona attorney general race; recount pending