Rob O’Dell – Caitlin McGlade – Yvonne Wingett Sanchez Arizona Republic
(CNT) City News Talk #arizona
As Maricopa County released the results from 140,000 more ballots on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, President Donald Trump received almost the exact share he would need to charge back to win Arizona’s 11 electoral votes and potentially reelection.
Trump won the batches of ballots from Maricopa County counted Wednesday and early Thursday by a roughly 57-40 margin over former Vice President Joe Biden.
Those votes — likely early ballots sent to the county on Monday and Tuesday — narrowed Biden’s lead over Trump in Arizona to 68,000 votes, when his lead had been more than 90,000 votes earlier Wednesday.
Paul Bentz, a Republican pollster with the consulting firm HighGround, said Trump needs to win 57.6% of the 470,000 votes that The Arizona Republic estimates remain to be counted.
“That’s almost exactly what he got in the first batch,” Bentz said. “He could do it.”
But the problem for Trump is that he needs to replicate that performance across all of the remaining 470,000 votes left to count in the state. And he needs to do it across all Arizona’s 15 diverse counties, which include areas that are very blue: Pima, Coconino and Santa Cruz counties.
Trump needs to repeat that performance “with every single batch, with every single ballot, with every single day,” Bentz said. “The first step in the long journey was a successful one in Trump’s tightrope walk.”
The president also needs to maintain that vote margin through different batches of ballots that include those that arrived in the mail before Election Day, early ballots dropped off at the polls on Election Day, and provisional ballots that voters cast because they didn’t have the right form of identification or went to the wrong polling place.
Provisional votes tend to trend Democratic and there are a total of 36,000 provisional votes in Maricopa and Pima counties, about 18,000 in each.
One might expect Trump to maintain the same margin for the remaining 108,000 early ballots that were sent in the mail to Maricopa County on Monday and Tuesday, Bentz said. But no one knows what the votes look like from the early ballots dropped off at the polls, he said.
Those votes could go even more for Trump, just as the votes on Election Day did, or they could act like early votes dropped off at the polls traditionally do, which is trend Democratic, he said.
“He can’t afford really to trip up once, unless the next day suddenly he surges way back,” Bentz said. “It’s a good first day. The question is: Can he keep up this pace?”
Bentz said Wednesday was the best the Trump campaign could have hoped for after being down by so much on Tuesday night, that the president’s campaign still “has a shot.”
A statement from the Biden campaign struck an optimistic tone about his prospects for Arizona and beyond.
“As more votes get counted, it’s becoming even more clear than last night: Joe Biden has flipped Arizona and the Presidency,” the statement said. “Throughout the early voting period, we won an overwhelming share of early votes, including an overwhelming majority of Latino voters and a strong majority of independent voters. We closed the gap on Election Day in-person votes, and won substantial portions of the ‘late earlies’ mail votes that were dropped off in the final days of early voting. We decisively won Maricopa County — the key to winning Arizona — and Joe Biden has the votes to win Arizona right now. It’s abundantly clear that Arizonans have spoken, and they’ve elected Joe Biden as our next President.”
The Associated Press and Fox News have both called Arizona for Biden.
Emma Hall, of the Republican National Committee, countered that Trump’s pathway to victory “goes straight through Arizona.”
“Once again, the mainstream media jumped the gun by calling Arizona for Joe Biden,” Hall said in a statement. “As these outstanding ballots will show, a record number of Arizonans turned out to re-elect President Trump, keep the Grand Canyon State red, and continue the Great American Comeback.”
Where ballots remain to be counted
The ballots left to be counted in Arizona, according to the Secretary of State’s Office and an Arizona Republic survey of county recorders and elections officials, include:
About 282,000 in Maricopa County, including 18,000 provisional votes.
About 55,000, including about 18,000 provisional ballots, in Pima County, according to Deputy Pima County Recorder Chris Roads.
Nearly 43,000 in Pinal County, most of which were early ballots.
10,394 in Yuma County, a majority of which also were early ballots.
10,000 in Yavapai County, mostly early ballots.
12,998 in Coconino County, mostly early ballots.
More than 12,000 ballots in Cochise County.
Navajo County has 4,300 votes left to count, mostly early ballots.
Less than 2,500 early ballots in Apache County that are waiting signature verification or are provisional ballots.
2,350 ballots in Gila County, 1,500 in Santa Cruz County, 275 in Graham County and 652 in Greenlee County.