Metro Weekly

Lesbian Candidate Kris Mayes Wins Arizona Attorney General Race

Republican-turned-Democrat emerges narrowly from hotly contested race, winning by one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Arizona Attorney General-elect Kris Mayes – Photo: Gage Skidmore.

Democrat Kris Mayes, an out lesbian, has been declared the winner of Arizona’s Attorney General race following an automatic recount, narrowly edging out her Republican opponent, Abe Hamadeh, by one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Mayes ultimately defeated Hamadeh by just 280 votes, or 0.01%, out of more than 2.5 million ballots cast, though her margin of victory shrank from 511 votes following the state’s canvass of votes earlier this month. 

The attorney general race — one of the tightest races in state history — went to an automatic recount after Mayes’s margin of victory over Hamadeh fell under 0.5 percentage points, as did two other races. 

An Arizona judge ordered counties to keep the recount results confidential until a hearing on Thursday. According to The Hill, Mayes’s margin of victory was reduced due to a tabulation discrepancy that has since been fixed, although the judge did not specify which county adjusted its result.

As rumors of the discrepancy began to circulate prior to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason’s announcement, Hamadeh asked for a delay and requested that the current Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a fellow Republican, be allowed to remain in office until “all issues are resolved.”

In making that request, Hamadeh cited Arizona’s 1990 gubernatorial race, when the sitting governor remained in office through the March following the election until a winner was certified. That delay was due to a provision in Arizona’s constitution — which has since been removed — that required a candidate to receive a majority of votes to be elected. Because no candidate received a majority in the general election, a runoff was scheduled for the following year.

Thomason ultimately rejected Hamadeh’s motion, declaring Mayes the winner and directing Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is also the governor-elect, to issue a certificate of election to Mayes.

Hamadeh took to Twitter to declare that he was considering further legal action to dispute the results.

“A shockingly high discrepancy,” Hamadeh tweeted, referring to the tabulation error. “Again, a recount just puts the ballots in the machine again. My legal team will be assessing our options to make sure every vote is counted.”

Hamadeh also blasted Hobbs’s office over problems with printers in Maricopa County on Election Day — which Republicans claim “disenfranchised” voters favorable to their candidates — accusing Hobbs of knowing that the recount would show a large discrepancy due to tabulation errors and “deceiv[ing] the courts.”

Last week, a Mohave County Superior Court judge threw out Hamadeh’s challenge to the official election results, which he had filed following the canvass on Dec. 5. The judge, Lee Jantzen, said Hamadeh had failed to provide evidence supporting his assertion that mistakes in the election process impacted the outcome of the race.

Thursday’s hearing also resulted in a declaration of victory for Tom Horne, a Republican, in the state schools superintendent race, by over 9,000 votes, and Republican Liz Harris over fellow Republican Julie Willoughby for the second of two seats representing Legislative District 13, by 270 votes, according to the Arizona Republic.

LGBTQ Victory Fund, the national organization that seeks to elect out LGBTQ people to office and which had previously endorsed Mayes, hailed her victory after the initial canvass, calling the Republican-turned-Democrat and former member of Arizona’s Corporation Commission a “champion of equality who believes in democracy,” a dig at Hamadeh’s refusal to admit that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

“In a state with bans on abortion and same-sex marriage still on the books, the symbolism of voters choosing an out LGBTQ Attorney General cannot be overstated,” Annise Parker, the president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement. “Kris has a long track record of taking on big fights and winning on behalf of her community and will be a powerful pro-equality, pro-choice force in Arizona.”

With her victory, Mayes will become one of two out LGBTQ attorney general in the country, along with Michigan’s Dana Nessel.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, an out lesbian, was recently elected governor of the commonwealth, while former New Jersey Attorney General Andrew Bruck, an out gay man who was temporarily named to fill the position following the resignation of his predecessor, has not sought elective office.

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