Friday, November 7, 2014

BREAKING: Martha McSally (May Have Defeated) Rep. Ron Barber; Lead Is 509 Votes, With Minimal Ballots Left To Process; Outside Automatic Recount Threshold

(UPDATE, 8:12PM: It is very possible that the very precise-sounding "estimated outstanding ballots" from this morning was wildly incorrect with regards to Pima County.  If there are still thousands of ballots left to count this weekend or on Monday, there may still be a chance for Barber to catch up.)

Martha McSally has defeated Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2), as both Pima and Cochise counties reported processed ballots after 5pm.  The vote totals as of 6:41pm tonight are 105,687 for McSally, and 105,178 for Barber.

The automatic recount threshold is 200 votes.

Barber narrowly defeated McSally in 2012.  McSally had lost in the GOP primary earlier that year in the special election to replace Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who had retired after surviving an assassination attempt that left six people dead and 13 injured.  Barber had been among those injured; he was Giffords' District Director.

Going into today's counting, McSally had had a 363 vote lead.  Cochise County - which broke heavily for her - had had 3,222 votes left to process.  Pima County had narrowly favored Barber and had 18,171 votes left to process.  Some of those are provisional ballots, and not all of those were approved for counting.

Cochise added approximately 3,000 votes tonight, Pima added approximately 16,000 (not all of those were in CD2).

Based on those numbers, there cannot be enough ballots remaining (if any) to change the outcome.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.


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Unknown said...

This race is FAR from over. It's unclear how many Early Ballots Pima county has left to count. Media reports have varied from 2000 to 8000. Sadly, Pima County failed to update their tabulated votes spreadsheet here: so we're just guessing.

Howvever many those may be, they are apparently "earlies" that couldn't me machine tabulated.

Ignoring the earlies since we don't know how many there are, what we do know is that there are 10,000 provisional votes to be tabulated in Pima County. Assuming 8500 of those are valid (85% of provisionals were accepted in 2012) and further assuming that 65% of them are in CD2, that leaves us with 5525 provisional ballots in CD2.

If those split 55%/45% for Barber he pulls ahead by 30 votes. If they split 52/48 he trails by 288.

Too many unknowns (especially number of uncounted earlies) to make any kind of prediction, except that it's going to be a nailbiter, WAY tighter than 2012, and an automatic recount if the margin is under .1% (approx. 220 votes) is looking like a VERY real possibility.

Mitch M. said...

Thank you, James. The apparently-premature conclusion last night was not a prediction; it was based on apparently-erroneous numbers reported Fri am by the Secy of State's Office. Before posting the article, I looked for Fri afternoon/evening updates on how many ballots were left to process. Finding none, I relied on the SoS #s, did the arithmetic, and conditioned the conclusion on there being few if any ballots left to count. (18,171 less 16,118 votes counted...less unknown # determined to be uncountable = 2,000 or less).

Now, if we use Pima's Fri a.m. update that there were 24,131 left to be processed, and subtract the 16,118, and we have a significant # left... and your scenarios are plausible.

I am seeking an explanation from county and state officials as to the Fri am discrepancy. It could have implications for more of the numbers, too.

Unknown said...


I continue to obsess about this race and crunch numbers.

Most importantly I found the Pima updated Early Tabulation spreadsheet here:

It *appears* to me at ALL Early Ballots have been tabulated. If you add the "Total to Count" and "Dup Ballots Sent to Count" colums and subtract the "Total to Duplication" you get the final number of 203011. So my guess is that the discrepancy of 3122 between the "Total from V.R." and "Total Counted" is rejected and duplicated ballots.

I've convinced myself that Pima's Early Ballot count is complete with the 509 McSally lead standing going into the Provisionals.

I'll add a little more specifictiy to my early analysis of the Provisionals: 10,131 total*85% valid*65% CD2 leaves 5598 Provisionals deciding this race. If they break 54.55% Barber and 45.45% McSally the final count will be:
McSally 108,232
Barber 108,232

Comes down to whether the provisionals more closely follow election day polling place results which favored McSally, even in Pima or the Pima Early vote which favored Barber.

Either way I think an automatic recount is a safe bet at this point.

Unknown said...


I was wrong about what "duplicates" meant on the Pima County spreadsheet. Apparently they're ballots that can't be scanned so have to be duplicated by hand.

So it would appear that there are 3065 duplicates to be counted and it also appears that batch Q4 of 145 mailed ballots that the recorder found yesterday haven't been tallied either.

Looking better for Barber.

Keys to his win are the total breaking above 65% CD2 in duplicates and provisionals, provisionals validating higher than 85%, and the split overall breaking better than 52/48 in his favor. Or for the Pima Recorder to keep finding mailed in ballots. :)

Mitch M. said...

Thanks for your close review of the spreadsheets, and for your calculations. Obsessiveness definitely helps when it comes to vote counting! (I've reported on and/or observed vote counts in Pima and Maricopa counties over the years, and find my number-crunching yen is more than satisfied.