After seeing a double-digit lead over Republican rival Blake Masters, Senator Mark Kelly gained some ground on Wednesday as election officials continued to count the votes.
With the US Senate in charge of the outcome of the race, Kelly’s advantage had dwindled to the mid-single digits on Wednesday, and more ballots had to be counted on Election Day.
He added about 7,000 votes to his lead Wednesday night after Maricopa County officials released the results of about 60,000 counted votes.
Unofficial results showed Kelly, D-Ariz., led by about 18 percentage points in the first vote. But Masters led Kelly in ballots released at polling stations by about 38 percentage points among those counted mid-morning Wednesday.
Maricopa County officials said nearly 340,000 ballots remained to be counted. Both sides insisted they had their way to victory in a race that resembled the toss-up many had predicted in the closing days of the campaign.
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While Masters has significantly narrowed Kelly’s lead, there remains a notable gap between Masters’ support and Republican governor candidate Kari Lake, who nearly got Democrat Katie Hobbs.
By mid-morning, Lake had garnered 303,000 votes, compared to Masters’ 293,000.
That 10,000-vote gap is about double what Hobbs ran after Kelly.
Another complication for Masters is the support that continues to go to libertarian Marc Victor, who stopped the race last week and asked his supporters to support Masters.
In the early vote, Victor gained the support of more than 2% of voters. He still collected about 1.7% in the vote on Election Day.
The numbers are small, but it still represents a potential loss for Masters of already more than 7,000 votes and in a race that could be settled by a few thousand.
The race becomes even more important as Senate control appears to depend on the results in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia.
In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt held a small lead over Sen early Wednesday. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.
In Georgia, Senator Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., also had a small lead over Republican Herschel Walker, but election officials have said it seems unlikely either man could win a majority, meaning it would lead to a runoff election. .
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Sen. Mark Kelly Leads Blake Masters In Arizona Election