McSally & Sinema..jpg

Arizona’s knock-down, all-out Senate race is heading into overtime, as a neck-and-neck contest between two congresswomen collides with Arizona’s sometimes glacial vote-counting procedures. (AP Photo/Matt York, Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s knock-down, all-out Senate race is heading into overtime, as a neck-and-neck contest between two congresswomen collides with Arizona’s sometimes glacial vote-counting procedures.

[TOO CLOSE TO CALL: Who will be the first woman to represent Arizona in U.S. Senate?]

Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema were separated by a small fraction of the votes tabulated as of early Wednesday, with hundreds of thousands of uncounted ballots still outstanding.

[LIVE RESULTS: Election Headquarters]

Though the vast majority of Arizona voters cast their ballots early by mail, those who receive early ballots but then drop them off in person at polling stations on or close to Election Day can jam up the system.

That’s because the state’s most populous county, Maricopa, can take days to count those ballots while they simultaneously tabulate Election Day votes.

The so-called “late earlies” may not be counted until Thursday in the county, where about 60 percent of Arizona’s voters live. Arizona counties with far fewer voters may also face long delays processing those ballots.

That leaves the contentious Senate race a cliffhanger in what’s otherwise shaping up to be another banner Arizona year for Republicans. The GOP has won every statewide race in Arizona over the past decade, and Democrats were hoping Sinema could break that streak.

Sinema’s fate may be uncertain, but Democrats struck out in other contests where they had hoped to clinch at least a few wins.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey was easily re-elected over a challenge from Democrat David Garcia, a college education professor. The GOP notched victories in Attorney General, Treasurer and Secretary of State races as well.

[READ MORE: McSally-Sinema Senate race unlike any Arizona has seen]

The picture was more mixed in Congress, where Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick was elected to the Tucson-area swing district seat vacated by McSally. Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran’s mainly northern Arizona seat was too close to call early Wednesday, and the outcome will determine which party gets the majority of the state’s nine member U.S. House delegation.

The election featured heavy statewide turnout of about 60 percent, more in line with a presidential election than a midterm.

The Senate contest was the marquee race, a contest between two champion fundraisers who are no strangers to tight races. McSally lost her first general election by less than 200 votes and won her second by about that many, and Sinema also represents a competitive swing district.

The two are battling over the seat vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican who decided not to run for re-election because he realized his criticism of President Donald Trump made it impossible for him to survive politically.

McSally and Sinema have both remade themselves politically. McSally, 52, is a onetime Trump critic who has embraced the president since his election. She has tried to rally Republican voters by emphasizing her military background as the first U.S. female combat pilot while touting her support for the president’s tax cut and other parts of his agenda.

Sinema, 42, is a former Green Party activist who became a Democratic centrist with her first election to the House of Representatives in 2012.

She’s one of the congressional Democrats most likely to vote to back Trump’s agenda but has spent the race hammering McSally for casting a vote for the health bill backed by the president. The repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which didn’t become law, would have weakened protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

In response, McSally criticized Sinema over her shifting views, contending she was still a closet liberal who disrespected the military. Republican ads publicized a 2010 video of Sinema repeating a comedian’s description of Arizona as “the meth lab of democracy.”

McSally also accused Sinema of treason for an offhand comment in a 2002 radio interview with an anti-war talk show host who suggested hypothetically he might join the Taliban. Sinema had responded it would not bother her if she did so.

[HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Arizona poised to send first female senator to Washington]

During her 2016 campaign to be re-elected to her Tucson area swing district House seat, McSally criticized Trump for attacking the parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq and for a videotape in which the future president bragged about sexually assaulting women.

That earlier criticism of Trump hobbled McSally during this year’s three-way Republican primary for Senate, when challengers attacked her not supportive enough of the president.

Sinema faced no real opposition in the Democratic primary and had months to define herself as a nonpartisan, problem-solving centrist on the airwaves while her allies slammed McSally with attack ads over the Republican’s health care vote.

The candidates and their allies spent more than $90 million in a race that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Also at stake is Arizona’s role in national elections. Republicans have won every statewide race since 2006. But Democrats have repeatedly hoped the state’s growing Latino population and influx of more educated professionals would make it competitive.

The Senate race will test that theory and may help determine whether Democrats target Arizona in the 2020 presidential election.


© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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(7) comments

Show Me Data

Your claim--a repeat of what Democrats put forth--that "[t]he repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which didn’t become law, would have weakened protections for people with pre-existing conditions" is not true. In fact, the evidence, easily discoverable by any reputable news agency, shows the opposite. House bill, H.R.1628 - American Health Care Act of 2017, which passed the House on May 4, 2017, with no Democratic-Party votes includes the following item:

"No Limiting Access To Coverage For Individuals With Preexisting Conditions.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting health insurance issuers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions."

This bill also received no Democratic-Party votes when it was defeated in the Senate on July 28, 2017, with Arizona's Senator McCain casting his infamous "thumbs-down" vote. The Democrats, with lots of media help, have promoted a false narrative--and they were able to get away with doing that because no one "fact checked" the claim. The Democrats for making the false claim, the media for failing to investigate the false claim, and the Republicans for failing to counter the false claim, all deserve large amount of criticism. Finally, voters who naïvely believed the claim might learn it's fine to trust what politicians put forth after--and only after--verifying the truth behind it. For those who'd like to check what I've posted, here's a link to the legislation:


Oh man-- where to start. You're missing several huge points here, and that is how the bill is IMPLEMENTED. The ACA (Obamacare for the uninitiated) is structured to prevent charging older people with more health-related expenses (people who would NEED and USE the insurance) 4x more than younger people by allowing states to get waivers for people with coverage gaps. It's something known as "community rating"-- and it keeps premiums affordable. This would be eliminated for certain people.

Next, the Republican bill eliminates something known as "essential health benefits" like medication. So sure-- you get coverage for a pre-existing condition, but your medication costs $400 a month. Real fair.

Last, the Republicans want to get rid of the insurance mandate (meaning purchasing coverage or being penalized), so the insurance pool would be affected by younger people opting for no coverage and older people and those with pre-existing conditions being charged exorbitant premiums-- the insurers would drop out of certain markets because no money is being made. (Nevermind actually providing what people are paying you for-- gotta increase that bottom line. Ah, capitalism!)

So sure-- people with pre-existing conditions are covered, but pretty much at their own expense, which is like not having coverage at all.


So anyway, adding to my post, here's a statement that sums up the GOP health bill perfectly: "I'm so glad I got coverage for my pre-existing condition. My premium is only $900 per month and my medication is $400. That seems fair to me. I'm glad I voted Republican!"

Bruce in AZ

"She’s one of the congressional Democrats most likely to vote to back Trump’s agenda" obvious lie. She's a radical, anti-American leftist. She votes with the radical democrats.


What is "American" to you? Is it White, gun-toting, anti-immigrant, misogynist malleable dope? Guess what? The electorate is changing and you can't do anything about it.

Bruce in AZ

Actually, I had pro-military, law abiding in mind.


Right-- Sinema "hates the troops" (she has a brother on active duty), and is... what? Pro-crime?

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