Democrat Kris Mayes won the Arizona attorney general’s race, an automatic recount confirmed. The Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County announced the results of the recount on Thursday.
Mayes defeated Republican Abraham Hamadeh by 280 votes. In Arizona, an automatic recount is triggered when the gap between the two statewide candidates who received the largest share of the vote is equal to or less than 0.5%.
CNN predicted no winner in the race before the recount.
The recount resulted in a lead that shrank by almost half, with Maye’s lead increasing from 511 votes in the early results to 280 votes after the recount. Overall, Mayes won 196 votes while Hamadeh received 427 votes. The two ran to succeed Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who finished a distant third in this year’s Republican primary, to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.
By far the largest change in votes came from Pinal County, where Hamadeh won 392 votes and Mayes 115 votes. In almost all other districts, the vote changes were in the single digits.
In a statement, Pinal County said the differences were the product of “human error,” with the differences largely due to election-day votes that were inadvertently left uncounted, according to a county report. According to a possible error detailed in the report, poll workers may have misinterpreted error messages from a spreadsheet machine, leading them to believe some ballots were being counted when in fact they weren’t.
The Attorney General race remained the last hope of a nationwide victory for a former President Donald Trump-backed candidate after Democrats faced off in the high-profile races for governor, US Senate and Secretary of State against Trump-backed, ballot-breaking GOP candidates had won.
But with the loss of Hamadeh, Republicans missed the first three national executive races in this year’s vote. Democrat Katie Hobbs won the governorship over Republican Kari Lake, while Democrat Adrian Fontes will succeed Hobbs as secretary of state after defeating GOP candidate Mark Finchem. A nationwide Republican officer who won re-election, State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, avoided inner-party infighting and was never endorsed by Trump.
Lake and Finchem have unsuccessfully sued to overturn the results of their elections. Hamadeh filed a lawsuit in Mohav County State Superior Court challenging the 2022 election results based on errors in the conduct of the election and vote counting described in the lawsuit. Mohave County Superior Court Justice Lee Jantzen ruled against Hamadeh last week.
Hamadeh, a former Army Intelligence officer who worked in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, parroted Trump’s 2020 election lies during the campaign and said he would expand the attorney general’s office’s election integrity division.
“It’s time we locked up some people and handcuffed them,” he said at a Trump rally in October.
Mayes, his opponent, served as a Republican member of the Arizona Public Utilities Commission for seven years and won statewide elections in 2004 and 2006. She left the GOP in 2019 and has vowed to “depoliticize” the attorney general’s office. However, Mayes has also said she would not enforce abortion restrictions in the state.
This story has been updated with additional developments.