Arizona primary 2022: Recap of races still undecided – The Arizona Republic

The governor’s race is still up for grabs, along with several others. Additional results were expected to be released Wednesday, along with more details about issues at polling places.

The latest: Thursday’s election highlights | Arizona primary election results

8:20 p.m.: How many votes are left to count in Maricopa County?

The phenomenon of early ballots making for some late election results is in play as the wait for the outcome of Arizona’s primary in a few key races stretches out to a second day.

Elections officials continue to count ballots from Tuesday’s primary election, and those that are slowing down the results are mostly ones that people dropped off at the polls.

Numbers released Wednesday evening showed a small increase in votes for both Kari Lake and Karrin Taylor Robson as they vie for the GOP nomination for governor. Likewise, Democratic candidates for secretary of state added to their totals, but not enough to seal the election for either Reginald Bolding or Adrian Fontes.

A person walks inside Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix to vote in the Arizona primary election on Aug. 2, 2022.

Many more results are expected with results released Thursday.

Maricopa County officials said they had about 147,450 ballots left to process. That includes 92,300 early ballots that are ready for processing and counting after workers verified the voters’ signature on the mail-in envelope. Also in the total are 54,000 ballots that still need signature verification, and 1,515 provisional ballots that need researched.

This layer of verification and processing adds to the time it takes to produce final results. Early ballots that are returned on election day (the “late earlies”) are usually set aside until the day after the election, as workers deal with getting results from early ballots that came in earlier (the “early earlies”) as well as votes cast in person at the polls.

Another batch of vote totals will get released at 7 p.m. Thursday, according to the Maricopa County Elections Department.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Pima County reported that about 30,000 ballots still need processing and counting.

— Mary Jo Pitzl

7:50 p.m.: It’s Mitchell v. Gunnigle in county attorney race; Galvin wins 

Two appointed officials in Maricopa County have also won their primary races.

County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, running to lead the office she took over after the death of Allister Adel, defeated Gina Godbehere in the GOP primary. She will face Democrat Julie Gunnigle in the general election. 

Thomas Galvin, who was appointed to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors last year, defeated three Republicans to retain his District 2 seat representing the East Valley. No Democrat filed to run.

— Sasha Hupka

7:20 p.m.: Lake keeps lead after few results released in Maricopa County

Maricopa County released about 5,000 additional ballot results in the governor’s race Wednesday night, a small number of the remaining ballots that are left to count. 

Maricopa County had roughly 90,000 ballots left to count, enough to close the gap between Kari Lake and her opponent Karrin Taylor Robson. A winner has not yet been declared in the race, but Lake maintained a narrow lead in the race.

A larger drop of results is expected from Maricopa County on Thursday night, also around 7 p.m.

Lake earlier Wednesday declared victory. Taylor Robson has not commented on the latest vote tallies.

The Democratic race for Arizona secretary of state also remains unresolved, as returns released Wednesday evening continued to show a single-digit lead for Adrian Fontes over Reginald Bolding.

The former Maricopa County recorder, Fontes has held the lead in the closely fought race since Tuesday evening. Bolding, the House minority leader, had advised his supporters to be patient late on election night, noting elections officials needed time to process ballots.

In the GOP primary in House District 4, Kelly Cooper maintained his lead over Tanya Contreras Wheeless. The winner will face Rep. Greg Stanton in November

— Stacey Barchenger and Mary Jo Pitzl

6:30 p.m.: Pinal County official concedes election day errors

There’s no telling how many people were prevented from voting in Pinal County’s primary after polling stations ran out of ballots and at least one failed to open for hours.

Amid calls to nullify the results from one candidate and angry questions from others, county officials on Wednesday conceded they botched the election — again.

Officials promised to immediately restructure its election department to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated when early ballots for November’s election go out in about three weeks.

“This county made a mistake,” County Attorney Kent Volkmer said at a news conference in Florence. “Every county official is embarrassed about what happened.”

Pinal became the poster child for election day problems in Arizona with only a smattering of problems reported throughout the state, including a ballot shortage at one precinct in Pima County and ink-smeared ballots in Maricopa County.

Volkmer said as many as 750 people were affected by delays in Pinal County, but he could not estimate how many left polling places without casting votes.

The shortages come on the heels of an error last month that caused the Pinal County to send out nearly 63,000 erroneous ballots to voters, leaving officials scrambling to come up with a legal solution before the primary.

— Robert Anglen

3:30 p.m.: Cooper leads Wheeless in 4th Congressional District

Kelly Cooper is maintaining his lead over Tanya Wheeless in the 4th Congressional District.

While the race has not been called, 97% of precincts have reported their results.

— Tara Kavaler

2:30 p.m.: Lake declares herself Republican nominee for governor

Kari Lake spoke to reporters at about noon Wednesday and declared herself the Republican nominee for governor, though the race had not been officially called. At the time, Lake held the lead in the race and ballots dropped off Tuesday were still being counted.  

“We are so proud of the movement,” Lake said. “We are so proud of the victory we have, and we are going to lead this state to its brightest days ahead.” 

Lake, 52, said she would continue to talk about the 2020 election, which she believes was fraudulent, as she faces Democratic nominee Katie Hobbs, the current Secretary of State who has defended Joe Biden’s win in the Grand Canyon State. She offered a conflicting message when asked about the current cycle and whether there was fraud. 

Last week, Lake said her campaign had evidence of “stealing” that would be reported to authorities. She reiterated that Wednesday, but Lake and her campaign attorney Tim LaSota pointed to non-criminal election issues like a shortage of ballots in Pinal County when speaking about the current cycle. 

Lake said she believed the Republican party would rally behind her, but didn’t say specifically how she would appeal to her opponent Karrin Taylor Robson or other Republicans she has attacked so far. Lake said she believed they would support her because they align on conservative values. A spokesman for Taylor Robson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Lake declaring victory.

— Stacey Barchenger

2 p.m.: Early ballot count continues in Maricopa County

Maricopa County officials said Wednesday there are at least 150,000 early ballots left to count from Phoenix-area voters. That number could go up as election workers determine how many provisional ballots were cast by eligible voters.

Elections officials expect to drop more results at 7 p.m. Wednesday as staff works to process early ballots that were dropped off at voting sites on Monday.

— Sasha Hupka

Chandler resident Amanda Lancaster walks into the voting center at the Chandler Unified School District Office with her ballot in hand on Aug. 2, 2022.

1:45 p.m.: Farnsworth defeats Bowers in Legislative District 10 

Contemplating how Trump-supporting lawmakers will govern next year, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers thinks about history.

Specifically, the “Dark Ages.”

Bowers was badly defeated Tuesday in the east Mesa race against his Trump-endorsed former schoolmate David Farnsworth, following a bruising campaign that included being censured by the Arizona Republican Party for alleged infractions against the party’s platform. With no Democratic contender in November, Farnsworth is Senator-elect for the district.

Sen. David Farnsworth speaks to a reporter after participating in a get-out-the-vote event organized by Turning Point Action in Mesa on July 30, 2022.

“Rhetoric ruled in those times much more powerfully than the truth,” Bowers said in an interview on Wednesday. “So, we’ll see. If the Republican slate is elected it will be a very different — at least the ones that look like they are winning — uh.” He paused, then continued with an, “Ay-yai-yai.”

“My party has taken a judgment of me,” he said. “Good for them. It makes life easier that I don’t have to worry what the party thinks at all. And it’s been thoroughly dominated by a mentality that I think will be destructive to the party and has thus been so far.”

Farnsworth told The Republic after the race that he expected the other Arizona Trump candidates to be declared winners in the primary. These apparent victories send a “huge” message that the public wants to address election problems, he said.

Farnsworth indicated previously he’d hold new hearings on alleged 2020 election problems.

Several Trump-backed other primary candidates will still have to take on Democratic candidates in the November election.

For subscribers: Primary election was good showing for Trump. What else to know

Both he and Bowers are longtime Mesa residents, both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they even went to the same high school one year apart. Now that the race is over, Farnsworth said he would like to see Bowers treated with respect.

“I hope we can have a cordial relationship in the future,” he said.

Although Bowers “messed up” his last two years in office, “he gave good years of service and he needs to be respected for that and not ridiculed or criticized in the future because what’s done is done.”

— Ray Stern

1:30 p.m.: Governor’s race draws eye of Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider

Things are getting pretty twisted over the use of Twisted Sister’s famous song, “We Ain’t Gonna Take It”, in the Arizona gubernatorial election.

On Wednesday, the band’s frontman, Dee Snider, eyed the results of the Democratic race for governor and tweeted his intention to start singing the tune for Katie Hobbs’ campaign.

It’s a pushback against the first candidate to use the song, Republican Kari Lake.

Lake played the song at a recent rally, drawing Snider’s condemnation. But he didn’t bar her from using the song.

“While I abhor what this ignoramus @KariLake stands for and the deplorables (yup, Hillary Clinton had it right) she represents, I can NOT legally or morally stop her from using or singing my song,” Snider tweeted.  “I wrote it for everyone…cherry picking who uses it is censorship.”

However, his comments pulled him into a Twitter war with Lake.

It blew up on Twitter and got play on many music and political websites.

Previously, he had given Marco Lopez his blessing to use the song in his bid for the Democratic nomination. But after Hobbs bested Lopez in a lopsided Democratic primary, Snider threw his full support to Hobbs.

Could we see campaign rallies in the near future with both the Democratic and Republican candidates singing the same tune?

— Mary Jo Pitzl

1 p.m.: O’Halleran, Crane advance in 2nd Congressional District

Former Navy SEAL Eli Crane won the Republican nomination and will go up against incumbent Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District. The Associated Press called the GOP race at 9:48 a.m. Wednesday.

Crane, who faced a tight battle with state Rep. Walter Blackman for the GOP nod, gained late momentum last month after former President Donald Trump endorsed him. And he maintained a major fundraising lead over Blackman and the rest of what was a crowded field throughout the campaign cycle. 

“The America First movement has sent a clear message tonight to the people of Arizona,” Crane said Wednesday in a written statement. “We will not let up until we have taken Arizona and our country back.”

Besides Crane and Blackman, lesser-known candidates Andy Yates, John W. Moore, Steven Krystofiak and QAnon-linked Ron Watkins also ran. Consulting company founder Mark DeLuzio maintained a strong third place showing.

O’Halleran, who is seeking his fourth U.S. House term, was unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

— Gregory Svirnovskiy

12:45 p.m.: Nicholls leads over Watts in Yuma mayor’s race

Preliminary results show incumbent Douglas Nicholls in the lead with 59% of the vote Tuesday, compared with opponent Karen Watts with 38% of the vote, in Yuma’s mayoral election.

The numbers reflect 9,407 ballots cast with 4,700 ballots remaining to be counted, according to a city of Yuma statement sent Tuesday night.

Nicholls has been vocal about migrants moving across the border into Yuma. In December 2021, he proclaimed a local emergency in Yuma and called the influx of migrants entering the city a “humanitarian and border crisis” in a news release.

His opponent Watts, who has a career as a nurse practitioner, has been on the city council since 2018 and was deputy mayor in 2020. 

According to a Yuma news release, the city anticipates the final tally will be released on or by Wednesday, Aug. 10, following the five-day verification period that ends Aug. 9. Results will become official once canvassed by the Yuma City Council at its Aug. 17 meeting.

— Sarah Lapidus

12:30 p.m.: Schweikert, Hodge to face off in 1st Congressional District race

Incumbent Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., and Democratic challenger Jevin Hodge will battle it out on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

Schweikert, who sits on the influential House Ways and Means Committee, defeated GOP primary challengers Elijah Norton and Josh Barnett. The Associated Press called the race for Schweikert at 8:55 a.m. Wednesday.

The AP called the Democratic primary race for Hodge at 12:55 a.m. Wednesday.

Hodge’s campaign had already claimed victory over Phoenix basketball executive Adam Metzendorf.

“I’m honored to be the nominee and we’re ready to take the fight to David Schweikert,” Hodge said Tuesday night in a written statement.

— Dan Nowicki

Noon: Hamadeh declared winner in GOP primary for AG

The Associated Press declared Abe Hamadeh the winner of the Republican primary for attorney general as the Trump-endorsed candidate’s lead over Rodney Glassman expanded overnight.

Andrew Gould came in third place, followed by Dawn Grove, Lacy Cooper and Tiffany Shedd.

— Tara Kavaler

11:15 a.m.: Lake’s lead grows over Taylor Robson in governor’s race 

Kari Lake’s lead over Karrin Taylor Robson in the race for the Republican nomination for Arizona governor grew overnight into Wednesday, but with roughly 130,000 ballots left to be tallied in Maricopa County the race had not yet been called. 

Lake surpassed Taylor Robson’s initial lead in the results as ballots cast by voters on election day were counted. Throughout the campaign, Lake has cast doubt on early voting, likely leading to her advantage with Tuesday voters. 

The former Fox 10 news anchor renewed her claims about election problems during a Wednesday morning interview with Turning Point USA leader Charlie Kirk, a conservative activist with a huge following. However, Lake didn’t claim fraud as she did done one week prior. 

Lake said that message helped carry her to more votes than Taylor Robson, her establishment opponent who was buoyed by over $20 million in spending in the race. But she also signaled she would seek to appeal to Taylor Robson’s supporters after a divisive primary race. 

“I’m from a large family, the youngest of nine,” Lake told Kirk. “And I like to say in every big family, you have arguments, disagreements, fights and some dysfunction. And that is how I view the Republican Party as it stands right now. But at the end of the day, in a big family, you’re still family and you come together, and you make it work out. And I will do that.” 

Lake was slated to speak to reporters at noon Wednesday during what her campaign called a “victory” news conference. 

— Stacey Barchenger

11 a.m.: Daggett, Deasy advance in race for Flagstaff mayor

Challenger Becky Daggett and incumbent Paul Deasy will advance to the November general election in the race for Flagstaff mayor. 

Daggett held a comfortable lead throughout most of election day Tuesday and with 100% of precincts reporting she received just over 50% of the vote. 

The rest of the votes were about split with Deasy receiving just under 27% of the vote and Daniel Williamson receiving about 22%. 

— Lacey Latch

10:30 a.m.: Pinal County officials to address ballot shortage

County officials plan to address questions Wednesday afternoon about ballot shortages at multiple precincts in Pinal County during the election Tuesday. 

Officials reported running out of ballots at about 20 polling sites. They said the shortage was sparked by “unprecedented demand for in-person ballots.”

The county resupplied polls, and voters could cast ballots as long as they were in line by 7 p.m.

The county plans to answer questions from news media at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Florence. 

— Michael Cruz

9 a.m.: Arizona’s 2020 election still a factor

Arizona’s secretary of state race could be one of the more compelling races heading into the fall.

State Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, locked up the Republican nomination on Tuesday. Former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes held a narrow lead over state Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen.

If the Finchem-Fontes matchup happens, it would effectively put the 2020 election back on the ballot.

Finchem is one of the most visible election-deniers in the nation, which helped him win Trump’s early endorsement in the race to oversee the state’s elections.

By contrast, Fontes presided over Maricopa County’s election that was scrutinized and essentially reaffirmed by the Republican partisans who handled the state Senate-ordered review of the county’s ballots in 2021.

Both candidates seem eager to rehash what happened in 2020 as well.

One more detail that could help spur interest in the race: The winner is the person who stands to replace the governor if the next chief executive didn’t complete the full four-year term for any reason.

— Ronald J. Hansen and Stacey Barchenger

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