Sinema Takes The Lead In Arizona Senate Race

before the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona.
TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema participates in the pregame coin toss before the game between the Utah Utes and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 3,... TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema participates in the pregame coin toss before the game between the Utah Utes and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. Sinema is running against two-term congresswoman Martha McSally. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 8, 2018 9:50 p.m.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has pulled into the lead in Arizona’s slow-crawling Senate race.

New ballots released by populous Maricopa and Pima Counties Thursday evening gave Sinema a lead of just over 9,600 votes over Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) in their tight battle for the Senate.

McSally had led since election night. But there are still almost a half-million outstanding ballots in the state, which is notoriously slow at tallying its election results because of a heavy reliance on mail voting. That’s more than one fifth of the total vote, plenty to swing the election either way.

The hard-fought contest will drag on for days and potentially weeks longer.

Both candidates have been here before. McSally had to wait weeks to find out she’d defeated then-Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) in 2014 by just 167 votes, and Sinema had to wait days to be sure she’d won her House seat in a close 2012 election.

This race and Florida’s tight battle between Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Gov. Rick Scott (R) have yet to be called. The two will make major difference between a closely divided Senate or one that would give the GOP a much more governable majority and make it much harder for Democrats to win back the chamber in two years. Assuming Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) wins her runoff against former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (D), the Senate balance could sit at 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats or a 54-46 split.

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