After shrinking a double-digit lead over Republican rival Blake Masters, Sen. Mark Kelly gained some ground on Wednesday as election officials continued to count the votes.
With control of the US Senate effectively dependent on the outcome of the race, Kelly’s lead had shrunk to mid-single digits by Wednesday, and more ballots had to be cast on Election Day.
He added about 7,000 votes to his lead Wednesday night after Maricopa County officials released results of about 60,000 votes counted.
Unofficial results showed Kelly, D-Ariz., leading in early voting by about 18 percentage points. But Masters led Kelly in ballots dropped at polling stations by about 38 percentage points below those counted as of Wednesday morning.
Maricopa County officials said nearly 340,000 ballots remained to be counted. Both sides claimed they had a path to victory in a race similar to the toss-up many had predicted in the final days of the campaign.
Election Reporting: Live Voting Updates | Arizona election results
While Masters has significantly eroded Kelly’s lead, there remains a notable gap between Masters’ support and Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, which nearly caught Democrat Katie Hobbs.
As of mid-morning, Lake had amassed 303,000 votes, compared to Masters’ 293,000.
That gap of 10,000 votes is roughly double that of Hobbs behind Kelly.
Another complication for Masters is support, which still goes to Libertarian Marc Victor, who gave up running last week and asked his supporters to back Masters.
In the early voting, Victor won the support of more than 2% of voters. He still garnered about 1.7% in the Election Day vote.
The numbers are small, but it still represents a potential loss for Masters from already more than 7,000 votes, and in a race that could be decided by a few thousand.
The race is gaining momentum as control of the Senate appears to depend on results in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia.
In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt held a narrow lead over Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev, early Wednesday.
In Georgia, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., also had a small lead over Republican Herschel Walker, but election officials said it was unlikely either man could win a majority, meaning there would be a runoff .
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This article originally appeared in Arizona Republic: Sen. Mark Kelly Leads Blake Masters in Arizona Election
https://news.yahoo.com/sen-mark-kelly-holds-onto-195010459.html Senator Mark Kelly maintains lead over Blake Masters in US Senate race in Arizona