Democrat Kris Mayes wins Arizona attorney general race by just 280 votes, recount confirms


A vote recount has confirmed Democrat Kris Mayes won the race for Arizona attorney general, narrowly defeating Republican Abe Hamadeh in one of the closest elections in state history.

The results were announced Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court. Mayes defeated Hamadeh by just 280 votes out of more than 2.5 million ballots cast, a 0.01 percentage point lead. Her lead de ella was cut nearly in half from the original count of 511 votes, which was within the margin to trigger an automatic recount under Arizona state law.

Republicans immediately sounded off on the discrepancy.

“A shockingly high discrepancy,” Hamadeh tweeted. “Again, a recount just puts the ballots in the machine again. My legal team will be assessing our options to make sure every vote is counted.”

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Kris Mayes, a Democratic candidate for Arizona attorney general, smiles before a debate against Republican Abraham Hamadeh on Sept. 28, 2022.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Abraham Hamadeh, a Republican candidate for Arizona attorney general, is seen prior to a debate against Democrat Kris Mayes on Sept.  28, 2022.

Abraham Hamadeh, a Republican candidate for Arizona attorney general, is seen prior to a debate against Democrat Kris Mayes on Sept. 28, 2022.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

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Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the results “shocking” and pledged the RNC’s support for Hamadeh “to make sure every legal vote is counted.”

However, Mayes’ attorney Dan Barr said the results should boost public confidence in elections, regardless of the discrepancy.

“They didn’t just do a rubber stamp of what it was,” Barr said. “They did a careful evaluation of the votes, and they came up with a different result. And so I think people should have a lot of confidence in the process.”

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Katie Hobbs, the Democratic governor-elect and current secretary of state, left, signs the official certification for the Arizona general election canvas as Arizona Republican Gov.  Doug Ducey, right, looks on during a ceremony at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022.

Katie Hobbs, the Democratic governor-elect and current secretary of state, left, signs the official certification for the Arizona general election canvas as Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, right, looks on during a ceremony at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)

Hamadeh had filed a separate challenge of the results in his race, but a judge dismissed that case last week.

Hamadeh alleged problems with ballot printers in Maricopa County had led to a series of issues that disenfranchised voters and that his race was affected by improper handling of ballots that were duplicated or adjudicated by people because they could not be read by tabulators. In throwing out the lawsuit, a judge concluded Hamadeh did not prove the errors in vote counting that he had alleged. Records show there were 623 more votes recorded in the recount than results that were certified across the state about a month ago. About 500 were identified in Pinal County, which attributed the discrepancy between the certified returns and the recount results to human errors. One of the issues, which affected 63 ballots, was tied to voting machine settings and ballots with unclear markings.

Mayes’ victory hands Democrats another statewide win after Katie Hobbs was elected governor and Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., won re-election defeating Blake Masters.

“I’m excited and ready to get to work as your next attorney general and vow to be your lawyer for the people,” Mayes said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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