No Clear Winner Emerges in Gubernatorial Race as Arizona Vote-Counting Stretches into Night Three

Maricopa County released another batch of counted ballots Thursday night, which were slightly in favor of Democrat gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs. However, the gap was not big enough for Hobbs to jet out in front of her Republican opponent, Kari Lake.

“This Maricopa County drop is not nearly what [Katie Hobbs] needed. This ends tomorrow,” tweeted the Lake campaign.

Maricopa County added another 78,000 ballots to the total count, about 7,000 of which favored Hobbs. Currently, there have been 1,215,718 cast ballots counted in this race. Similar to Wednesday’s results, Hobbs now leads Lake in the county 52 percent to 48. According to the county, the ballots added to the tally Thursday were early votes from Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for the most part.

Early ballots were predicted to favor Democrats, while ballots cast on Election Day would be likely to boost Republicans. London Wall, a data expert with Alloy Analytics, said Hobbs needed to perform better in this batch to hold her lead over Lake.

“This was the last batch from Maricopa that was set to massively favor Hobbs and she underperformed in a big way. The stage is set for tomorrow when the early ballots dropped off on Election Day begin to be counted which will favor Kari Lake. Game on,” tweeted Wall.

Not included in this ballot dump were the roughly 17,000 “box 3” ballots from Election Day. These ballots resulted from the printing issues seen at 70 voting locations around the county that prevented people from entering their ballots directly into the on-hand tabulation machines. The county began counting these ballots Thursday, although they were not included in the dump. Data guru Garrett Archer said these “box 3” ballots would likely be good for Republicans.

In a press conference held Thursday, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates shared that roughly 400,000 more ballots are to be counted. While he initially aimed for vote counting to be completed by Friday, Gates said that is no longer the case, and it will likely take until next week for tallying to finish.

Tucker Carlson blasted Maricopa County for taking so long to get results, and Lake called it “ridiculous” that Arizonans did not have election results on Election Day. Gates told the press that the cause for the delay was the overabundance of early ballots dropped off at stations on Election Day. He reported that 290,000 ballot drop-offs were made on Wednesday, 70 percent more than any other Arizona election. According to Gates, the signature verification for each dropped ballot takes time, but he said the tabulation team would work through Veterans Day and the weekend to get every vote counted.

Maricopa County staff have allegedly worked 14 to 18 hours daily on these ballots. Viewers can watch the tabulation process live here.

As for the state as a whole, Hobbs is currently roughly 27,000 votes ahead of Lake, with 74 percent being accounted for. In the race for Senate, incumbent Mark Kelly (D) leads over Republican Blake Masters by over 100,000 votes. State Senator Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) is in a similar boat, also trailing Democrat Adrian Fontes by 100,000 votes. The closest race remains for attorney general, with republican Abe Hamadeh less than 20,000 votes behind Kris Mayes.

Stay up to date on election results here.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Polling Place” by Tim Evanson CC 2.0, “Kari Lake” is by Gage Skidmore CC2.0, and Katie Hobbs is by Katie Hobbs.


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