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Election Night: The Closest Race In Years?

Campaign Trail

In an Arizona Senate race to replace retiring Republican Jon Kyl, It’s a runoff between Republican Congressman Jeff Flake and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Democrat Richard Carmona. The extremely close race has big money pouring in from both sides. It could be Arizona's closest senate contest in more than three decades.

Yet only four years ago, Democrat Carmona would have been a huge underdog. The dead heat between the candidates could represent more than a close race, it could reflect a changing state.

Election Night


Latino groups registered tens of thousands of new voters in Arizona during this election cycle. Those efforts were not enough to overcome the heavy Republican turnout that elected Congressman Jeff Flake to the U.S. Senate.

The six term congressman faced former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona.

Carmona is of Puerto Rican descent, and some observers had expected a strong Latino voter turnout to make the race a close one.

Both candidates hurled charges at one another in a bitter contest.

In Phoenix, Tuesday night, Flake said both parties must agree to deal with the nation’s debt.

"We have divided government so we gotta reach across the aisle," Flake said in accepting victory, " We just have to do it in a way that limits the size of government. We have to take care of this debt and deficit that we have, because that’s the biggest problem we have. That’s the paramount issue of our time."

Flake’s final victory margin won’t be known until all the votes, including provisional ballots are counted over the next several days. But it looks like his margin will be about nine percent, making it the closest race since Barry Goldwater won his last senate campaign in 1982 by a little more than one percent of the vote.

9:17 PM

AP has announced that Republican Jeff Flake has defeated Democrat Richard Carmona in a hard-fought battle for a Arizona Senate seat. He'll be replacing retiring GOP Senator Jon Kyl. Early results on the Arizona Secretary of State website has Flake with 50% of the vote and Carmona with 45%.

Some saw this race as a possible reflection of a larger pendulum swing in the state. But with the re-election of Sheriff Joe and the victory of Flake it seems Republicans maintains their strong hold in the state.

7:06 PM

A side-by-side comparison of the Arizona GOP and Democrat headquarters in Phoenix

GOP Headquarters

Photo by Jude Joffe-Block

Democrat Headquarters

Photo by Nick Blumberg

6:26 PM

Malvèrde votes, but never says for whom.

Photo by Michel Marizco

Jude Joffe-Block was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2010 to 2017.