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Sinema lead grows again as Arizona Senate vote count continues

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is the Democratic nominee to fill retiring Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat. | Matt York/AP Photo

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has expanded her lead over GOP Rep. Martha McSally in Arizona after another day of ballot-counting in the state’s Senate race.

Sinema stretched her lead to 28,688 votes on Saturday evening as officials in the two most-populous counties, Maricopa and Pima, counted tens of thousands more absentee ballots, though that margin could shrink slightly if smaller counties where McSally has an edge report new totals later Saturday evening. Sinema now has 49.5 percent of the vote to McSally’s 48.2 percent, with hundreds of thousands more votes still left to count.

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Sinema and McSally are vying to succeed Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who announced last year that he would retire instead of running for reelection after clashing with President Donald Trump. The state has not elected a Democratic senator since 1988, but the campaign was hard-fought, attracting more than $ 50 million in outside spending from the two parties and outside groups. The acrimony has continued during the protracted vote count, with Republican officials in Washington urging McSally’s campaign to suggest the count is somehow improper.

Arizona is one of two Senate races still uncalled after Election Day. The GOP has a slim lead in the Florida Senate race, which is going to a recount.

Republicans currently have a 51-49 majority in the Senate, but they have made a net gain of two seats so far in the midterm election, flipping Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota while Democrats have flipped Nevada.

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