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Arizona Democrat Mayes narrowly wins attorney general race after recount


(Reuters) – Democrat Kris Mayes on Thursday narrowly won the fight to become Arizona’s next attorney general after a recount, defeating Republican Abraham Hamadeh by just 280 votes in one of the tightest races in the state’s history.

The race had gone to an automatic recount after the November midterm election, as required by state law, because the vote differential between the two candidates was within half a percentage point.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason announced the results in a hearing on Thursday, the court said. The final vote count was 1,254,809 votes for Mayes and 1,254,529 for Hamadeh.

The battle to become Arizona’s next attorney general had smashed fundraising records in the midterm elections, with election experts having said that the normally backwater contest had potentially big implications for U.S. democracy.

Arizona is a king-maker state in presidential elections. Under Arizona law, the attorney general must witness the certification of the election result, has the power to challenge certifications in the courts if they violate state law, and must approve the rule book that governs how elections are run.

Former President Donald Trump had endorsed Hamadeh, who supported Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him by President Joe Biden.

Mayes welcomed the outcome of her race in a statement released after the recount results were announced.

Hamadeh, one of a string of Trump-aligned Republican candidates who lost battleground state races in the midterm elections, said on Twitter he was weighing legal options.

“The outcome of this election is uncertain,” he tweeted.