Update: Read the latest on the Arizona election.
The number of ballots to count is dwindling and decision time has arrived for many Arizona races.
Maricopa County delivered another robust ballot update Monday evening, providing clarity on several races.
Automatic recounts will be triggered if races are still super tight when the votes are all counted.
Catch up on Sunday’s news here.
Follow Nov. 14 coverage of Arizona’s midterm election by Republic reporters here.
Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Democratic election chief who built a national profile by standing up to false claims about the 2020 presidential election, has won the state’s race for governor.
The Associated Press, NBC News and CNN called the race for Hobbs after 7 p.m. Monday, following a nail-biter week of election returns that highlighted the competitiveness of politics in the state.
Late-in-the-race polling showed her Republican opponent Kari Lake, the former television news anchor, with the momentum as Nov. 8 neared. Instead, voters offered a stunning rebuke of Lake, who was one of the nation’s most prominent election deniers.
With Hobbs’ win, Arizonans followed voters in other battleground states who rejected gubernatorial candidates who pushed false claims about election results.
— Stacey Barchenger
Republicans will maintain control of the state Senate for the next two years, election results Monday showed.
GOP candidates stayed ahead of their Democratic opponents in critical Senate districts following the last large release of counted ballots.
The Associated Press has called 28 of 30 Senate races, including 16 races for Republicans.
The two races still not called only threatened to increase Republicans’ lead.
One was a close race between incumbent senators Democrat Christine Marsh and Republican Nancy Barto. They are competing in Legislative District 4. Marsh currently leads Barto 50.5% to 49.5%.
The other involved thousands of write-in ballots that needed to be examined in Legislative District 22, where unofficial results showed Democrat Eva Diaz far ahead of her next-closest Republican competitor.
As it stands, Republicans will have the same 16-14 Senate majority in 2023 that they had this year.
— Ray Stern
Dozens of student and youth organizers with community group Aliento celebrated the passage of Prop 308 on Monday evening in Phoenix.
Arizona voters approved the ballot measure by 51%. It grants undocumented students, also known as Dreamers, the in-state tuition rate at state colleges and universities. Undocumented students who graduated from Arizona high schools will pay the same rate as their peers, saving on average about $6,000 per year.
Aliento mobilized in 2018 to advocate for Dreamers after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that they were not eligible for in-state tuition. Voters had barred undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition in a 2006 referendum.
The group began pressing state lawmakers to build support for Dreamers, and in May 2021, the Arizona Legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 1044, sending Proposition 308 to voters this year.
— Rafael Carranza
In her first public statement since the Associated Press, NBC News and CNN called the Arizona governor’s race for Democrat Katie Hobbs on Monday evening, Republican nominee for governor Kari Lake kept her thoughts short.
“Arizonans know BS when they see it,” she said on Twitter.
Republican Mark Finchem, an election denier who lost the race for secretary of state to Democrat Adrian Fontes, was also active on social media Monday evening, sewing conspiracy theories about the election results. He urged people to get their Donald Trump campaign signs from 2016 and 2020 out of their garages.
“Get ready to rumble,” he tweeted.
— Anne Ryman
Barry Graham had a sizable lead over Pamela Carter in the race for Scottsdale’s final open city council seat Monday evening after Maricopa County released its last big tranche of results.
Since last week, Graham has consistently controlled about 58% of the votes.
— Sam Kmack
Bobbi Buchli’s lead over Bill Spence in the runoff for an open seat on Gilbert’s Town Council grew Monday after Maricopa County released a large batch of ballots.
Buchli is ahead by just over 1,000 votes. The race stands at 50.7% for Buchli and 49.3% for Spence.
Spence is a retired Navy lieutenant commander and nuclear engineering officer who served as an appointed Town Council member in 2020. Buchli is a real estate broker.
Three new Town Council members will be seated in January because incumbents Lauren Hendrix and Aimee Yentes did not seek reelection and appointed Councilmember Scott September lost in August.
— Maritza Dominguez
Businessman Jason Beck widened his lead over longtime council member Bridget Binsbacher in the race for Peoria mayor after new ballot tallies were released Monday night. Beck had about 54% of the votes, compared to roughly 46% for Binsbacher.
In a Facebook post on Sunday evening, Beck said he was confident he would win.
“We love Peoria and we are grateful for all who have served our community,” Beck wrote.
“Our message of helping ‘Peoria Realize Its Full Potential’ has been the theme of this campaign and it will stay in the front of my heart after I am sworn in as Mayor for all of Peoria,” he wrote. “I want to thank Bridget Binsbacher for her service on the Peoria council. Jane and I have a new appreciation for how difficult campaigns can be, and Bridget and her family worked hard in this race.”
Peoria also had two council seats on the ballot.
Challenger Jennifer Crawford held a lead over incumbent Vicki Hunt in the race for the council seat representing the Acacia District in south Peoria.
Incumbent Brad Shafer led challenger Diane Douglas for the council seat representing north Peoria’s Mesquite District.
— Corina Vanek
Phoenix’s two most competitive City Council contests are heading toward runoffs this March after the last big batch of votes was counted Monday.
Half of the city’s eight council seats are on the ballot, but the race to represent District 6 in Arcadia, the Biltmore area and parts of north-central Phoenix and District 8 in south Phoenix are the most competitive.
In District 6, the top two vote-getters are headed to a runoff, though it’s unclear who those two will be. Kevin Robinson pulled ahead in the open field of eight candidates vying to replace term-limited Sal DiCiccio.
Sam Stone, Moses Sanchez and Joan Greene were in second, third and fourth, respectively. The three were within 500 votes of each other Monday night.
District 8 incumbent Carlos Garcia had a slim advantage over challenger Kesha Hodge Washington.
— Taylor Seely
Republicans Kevin Thompson and Nick Myers have won seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission over Democrats Sandra Kennedy and Lauren Kuby.
The wins give Republicans an additional seat on the commission and a 4-1 majority over a lone Democrat.
— Ryan Randazzo
Maricopa County officials released a batch of 72,000 results Monday evening that led to the Associated Press and other news agencies calling the governor’s race for Democrat Katie Hobbs.
Roughly 5,000 to 15,000 ballots remain to be counted in the state’s most populous county. Officials will continue to release results in the coming days as they count 3,500 remaining ballots cast on Election Day via “door 3,” the secure box used for ballots that on-site tabulators cannot read, as well as provisional ballots and ballots that require signature curing.
Provisional ballots are used when there is uncertainty about a person’s eligibility to vote and are designed to ensure nobody is excluded from voting because of an administrative error. When a provisional ballot is cast, it is kept separate from others until after the election. Then, elections staff determine whether the voter actually was eligible to vote and whether the ballot should be counted.
Signature curing is a process that serves as an additional check on early ballots when elections staff cannot independently verify a signature.
The deadline for voters to finish curing their ballots is 5 p.m. Wednesday. The county tentatively plans to canvass, or certify, the results of the election on Nov. 28.
— Sasha Hupka
Republican Juan Ciscomani was declared the winner Monday night by the Associated Press over Democrat Kirsten Engel in the 6th Congressional District after new ballot tallies were released Monday.
The 6th Congressional District seat is open because incumbent Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, decided to retire. It was Arizona’s only open congressional seat.
Post-census redistricting shifted the old 2nd Congressional District into the new 6th Congressional District, which includes the state’s southeastern border and stretches north almost as far as Alpine and as far west as eastern Tucson.
Ciscomani was a longtime aide to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. Engel is a former state senator.
— Anne Ryman
Incumbent Republican David Schweikert is projected to defeat Democrat Jevin Hodge in the 1st Congressional District race, the Associated Press determined after Monday’s Maricopa County ballot tallies were released.
The district, which includes Scottsdale, Cave Creek and Paradise Valley and parts of north Phoenix, is competitive but favors Republicans. The economy is a major issue in the district, which is one of the most affluent in Arizona.
— Anne Ryman
Democrat Kris Mayes held her lead over Republican Abe Hamadeh in the race to become Arizona’s next attorney general following ballot tallies released Monday night by Maricopa County.
New ballot tallies were also released Monday by Pinal, Apache, Pima, Yuma and Cochise counties.
— Anne Ryman
Former superintendent and anti-bilingual education crusader Tom Horne was leading Monday over incumbent Democrat Kathy Hoffman in the race for superintendent of public instruction. New ballot tallies were also released Monday by Pinal, Apache, Pima, Yuma and Cochise counties.
The role of superintendent is largely an administrative job, not a policy-creation one.
Arizona’s superintendent can shake up educational priorities through public comment, but the role’s sphere of influence centers on pursuits like overseeing teacher certification, doling out funds, lobbying the Legislature and executing state and federal education laws.
— Anne Ryman
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone was asked at a news conference Monday to respond to former President Donald Trump’s political adviser Steve Bannon telling people they should not let Arizona certify its election.
Penzone was asked if he had security concerns about the statement.
Penzone said he expects everyone to abide by the law but also wants to be prepared.
He said Monday he chose to increase security around Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in downtown Phoenix and acknowledged that passionate statements from conservative personalities online could cause trouble down the road.
“I’m concerned bigger voices create bigger headaches.” Bannon has a “big platform,” he said.
— Anne Ryman and Sasha Hupka
At a news conference on Monday afternoon, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates defended allegations made online that secure boxes at county polling sites used for tabulator misreads, called “box 3” or “door 3,” were overflowing on Election Day and, as a result, some voters were asked to put their ballots into plastic storage containers.
“I’m not aware of any box 3 votes being put in Tupperware,” he said. “They have been handled securely throughout.”
Gates criticized a political leader who was advising voters online on Election Day against putting their ballots in box 3.
He said in some cases poll workers were “consoling” voters and letting them put their ballots through tabulators 10 to 20 times because people did not want to put their ballots in the secure boxes. That led to even longer lines, he said.
“It is clear those lines were longer because members, leaders in one political party were spreading misinformation,” Gates said.
— Anne Ryman
Officials say Maricopa County’s Monday round of election results will come after 6 p.m.
The results will include 73,000 outstanding early ballots dropped off on Election Day, per officials, and is expected to be one of the last large batches released.
However, it won’t entirely wrap up counting.
The county must still tally provisional ballots, which are used when there is uncertainty about a person’s eligibility to vote and are designed to ensure nobody is excluded from voting because of an administrative error, as well as signatures that require curing, a process that serves as an additional check on signatures that election workers cannot independently verify.
Voters have a 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline to clear up any uncertainty around their eligibility to vote or their signature, so some votes will remain outstanding until then.
— Sasha Hupka
Supporters of Proposition 308 projected the ballot measure granting in-state tuition to undocumented students would pass by a small margin.
As of Monday morning, Yes votes for Proposition 308 received 51%, leading by about 61,000 votes total. But there were nearly 160,000 votes left to count.
DJ Quinlan, a strategist who worked with the Yes on 308 campaign, said that despite the thin margin, their lead continued to grow as more votes were counted.
“The math is just very, very difficult to see Proposition 308 failing at this point,” he said. “Obviously we want every vote to be counted and are watching the process. But at this point, victory is all but assured and we don’t expect the margin to shift very much.”
During a news conference Monday, community and business leaders heralded a change in voter attitudes in approving the pro-immigrant legislation, nearly 16 years after Arizona voters overwhelmingly decided to bar undocumented students from receiving state aid.
Even as some key races were still undecided, supporters of Proposition 308 noted that many of the candidates who campaigned on anti-immigrant rhetoric had lost or were trailing in their races.
David Adame, president and CEO for Chicanos Por La Causa, which invested heavily to pass the ballot measure, said it was important to keep the momentum moving forward.
“I truly believe and have faith in this country that people are more compassionate, this country was built on immigrants,” he said. “But we need to do our work to make sure that our story is told correctly and not that we’re murders and rapists and things that were put out there on the campaigns today.”
Community groups and leaders added that the next step is to press Congress and Arizona’s two Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema and newly-reelected Mark Kelly, to take leading roles to adopt permanent protections for undocumented students at the federal level.
— Rafael Carranza
Democrat Katie Hobbs’ lead over Republican challenger Kari Lake narrowed slightly Monday morning after a small number of ballots from Pinal County were added to the tally.
Hobbs was leading by 24,772 at midday Monday after about 3,379 votes from Pinal County were added to the total counts. Lake won 68% of those votes.
Hobbs was leading Lake by just over 26,000 votes as of Sunday night, with a slim 1 percentage point gap between the two.
The race was still too close to call.
— Steve Kilar and Stacey Barchenger
Adrian Fontes announced his victory in Arizona’s secretary of state race Monday morning, acknowledging his bipartisan support and pledging to begin “the healing process” over election fraud and lies.
“I am comfortable to say that we have won,” Fontes told a crowd of supporters at American Legion Post 41 in south Phoenix, where he launched his Democratic campaign.
“As secretary of state, I represent all Arizonans, regardless of whether or not you voted for me,” he said. “It is time to end the divisiveness. It is time to end the partisanship, particularly when it comes to election administration. It is time to end the lies,” Fontes said.
Fontes was leading Republican candidate Mark Finchem by 122,000 votes Monday with about 158,507 total votes left to count statewide. The Associated Press called the race for Fontes on Nov. 12.
Finchem, who was endorsed by Trump and built his campaign around unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged in Arizona, could not be reached for comment. But he continued raising doubts about the state’s results in a flurry of social media posts on Monday.
“We are not conceding and are fighting,” he tweeted shortly after Fontes’ made his announcement. “Something is terribly wrong in Arizona.”
Fontes, who is the first Hispanic secretary of state and the first Hispanic executive officer in Arizona’s statehouse in 48 years, said election denialism has a “dark and rank” history.
“I am going to have your best interests in mind as a voter,” he said. “The America of tomorrow is an America where being an American is more important than your political party.”
— Robert Anglen
In a statement issued mid-morning on Monday, Julie Gunnigle said the Maricopa County Attorney’s race “isn’t the result we were hoping for” following her opponent’s declaration of victory in the midterm election.
Gunnigle sent out her statement after her opponent, incumbent Rachel Mitchell, declared a win earlier in the day.
Mitchell tweeted out a thank you to her supporters and the community Monday morning, saying she is “deeply honored” by their support and trust in her leadership.
Gunnigle, a reform-minded Democrat, said her Republican opponent’s win means “a continuation of the legacy of corruption within the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Maricopa County residents deserve better.”
In her statement, Gunnigle thanked voters, volunteers and supporters.
“The change we need won’t happen this year, but we aren’t deterred. We vow to keep our eye on this office and, along with the community, continue to demand better for all people in Maricopa County,” her statement said
— Stephanie Innes
Incumbent Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell declared victory Monday morning over challenger Julie Gunnigle in the midterm election.
“Thank you, Maricopa County,” Mitchell tweeted. “I am deeply honored this community has overwhelmingly shown its support and trust in my leadership of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.”
The latest election results, updated Sunday evening, showed Mitchell leading Gunnigle. There were still about 94,285 uncounted ballots in Maricopa County, the latest data from the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office shows.
A spokesperson for Gunnigle’s campaign did not have any immediate comment.
Voters faced a clear choice between two divergent approaches to criminal justice in the Maricopa County attorney’s race.
It pitted Republican Mitchell, the current county attorney who was appointed after the resignation of Allister Adel, against Gunnigle, the reform-minded Democrat, an outsider and critic of the agency.
Adel’s departure triggered a special election to select who would serve out the remainder of her term, which ends on Jan. 1, 2025.
Gunnigle has worked as a private practice attorney in the areas of civil and appellate litigation, administrative law and professional licensing. She was a prosecutor in Indiana between 2006 and 2007 and in Illinois from 2009 to 2011. Gunnigle previously ran for county attorney but lost to Adel in the 2020 general election.
While Mitchell touts more than 30 years of experience working in the agency she hopes to lead, Gunnigle, with more limited prosecution experience, has leaned into the outsider role, promising to reform what she has labeled as a corrupt institution.
— Stephanie Innes and Jimmy Jenkins
Rep. Andy Biggs is reportedly considering challenging for the House Republican leadership post this week.
Biggs, R-Ariz., could not be immediately reached for comment about a leadership bid, which was first reported by CNN.
He was involved in Washington and in Arizona in the effort led by former President Donald Trump to set aside the certified results of the 2020 election, culminating in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has long been viewed as the favorite as House speaker if the Republicans control the chamber. But the historically weak midterm shift away from Democrats has given new fuel to the fight within the GOP between establishment conservatives and those further to the right.
Biggs is among the most visible members disenchanted with the status quo on Capitol Hill.
— Ronald J. Hansen
A new state law that makes automatic recounts more likely, especially given close races up and down this year’s ballot.
The new law dictates that if the margin between two candidates or ballot measures is less than half a percentage point of all ballots cast in that race, a recount is automatically triggered. That means in a race in which 3 million ballots are cast, a margin of 15,000 votes or less would set a recount in motion.
The previous margin was one-tenth of 1 percentage point.
The expanded threshold came in the wake of Joe Biden’s narrow win in Arizona. While Biden’s 10,457-vote margin was big enough to avoid a recount under the law at the time, it would have forced a recount of all 3.4 million ballots cast if the new standard were in place. It also would have affected four other races on the 2020 ballot, according to county officials.
The bill creating the new law was introduced by state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, and passed the Legislature with bipartisan support. Proponents say it will provide more assurance about the outcome of close races.
Because of the process, it could be Christmas before some final results are known.
— Mary Jo Pitzl
Update: Read the latest on the Arizona election.