Arizona schools chief Hoffman concedes in re-election bid
By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX -- The last two statewide races in Arizona appear headed for a recount.
But one will be unnecessary.
Democrat Kathy Hoffman on Thursday conceded in her bid to keep her job as state schools chief.
``After a hard-fought race, we came up short,'' she said in a statement posted on Twitter. That means Republican Tom Horne, who had the job from 2003 until 2011, will again take the post.
The concession comes as Horne picked up 4,984 additional votes on Wednesday in his bid to reclaim his old job of state schools chief. Hoffman added 4,842 more votes.
That left Horne with an edge of 8,718 and 50.2% of the vote.
But a new state law requires an automatic recount if the margin of victory between the candidates is less than one-half of one percent. And when all is said and done, that figure for a statewide race is likely to be about 12,700.
The odds of one getting that margin over the other are slim.
State officials estimate there are only about 17,280 ballots left to be counted. And the daily tallies between Horne and Hoffman have been splitting almost evenly between the two.
An aide to Hoffman said she made the decision to concede because she saw no path to victory, even with a recount.
``We have confidence that our elections were run fairly and accurately,'' the statement read. And the aide said Hoffman believes the recount would not make up the difference.
A recount, however, is certain in the race for attorney general.
There, Democrat Kris Mayes saw her lead over Republican Abe Hamadeh cut by 60 votes on Wednesday. That leaves her with a 711-vote edge in the contest, well within the margin of an automatic recount.
But the chances that the hotly contested governor's race, already called by media outlets for Democrat Katie Hobbs, could wind up in a recount appear to have evaporated.
Republican Kari Lake picked up a few more votes Wednesday than Hobbs. But she still trails by 17,200.
In essence, that means something close to two thirds of all those uncounted ballots would have to be a vote for Lake to bring her within one half of one percent of all the votes tallied and trigger a recount. And that's a margin she has never reached on any day's reports.
Lake, however, has refused to concede. She even put up a Twitter post on Wednesday with a series of clips from campaign events and rallies accompanied by audio from the Tom Petty hit "I Won't Back Down.''
The GOP contender has complained of "vote suppression'' based on problems with ballot printers and tabulators in Maricopa County on Election Day that she said resulted in long lines and some people leaving polling places without voting.
There was a lawsuit filed in connection with that incident which sought to keep the polls open beyond 7 p.m., a bid that was immediately rejected by a judge.
It also sought to require the counting of provisional ballots of people who went to a different location that day but found they could not vote because they had been recorded as checking in and voting at the first site. But that lawsuit, filed on behalf of Lake as well as GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters, was ended after the attorneys voluntarily dismissed it.
No other legal action is pending.
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