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Green Party Candidate Drops Out Of Arizona Senate Race

arizona senate ballot
Justin Stabley/KJZZ
Green Party candidate Angela Green dropped out of the Arizona Senate race to endorse Democrat Krysten Sinema over Republican Martha McSally.

Green Party candidate Angela Green dropped out of the Arizona Senate race late last week to endorse Democrat Krysten Sinema over Republican Martha McSally.

While third-party candidates often poll better than they actually perform on Election Day, in a race as close as the one for Arizona’s senate seat: every vote counts.

At the time of Green’s concession Thursday, her website still said she would not be "harassed" or "bullied" into dropping out "in order for their major party candidate to win."

On Monday morning, her site was updated with a statement endorsing Sinema. 

"I knew I wasn’t going to win, so being a true candidate for the people and not the politics, I felt that if I withdrew and could endorse a candidate closest to the ideas and views of those whom I represent, then at least I can feel as though this withdrawal from the Senate race will not be in vain," she said in the statement. 

Green raised less than $1,500 and was largely absent from the campaign process, so Phoenix GOP strategist Paul Bentz is skeptical she will affect the race one way or another. 

"At the end of the day I think the real narrative here is who's able to appeal to independent, unaffiliated and Republican women," said Bentz. "They'll make the difference here."

Democrats are especially sensitive to the "third-party issue" after Green Party and Libertarian presidential candidates drew about 5 percent of the popular vote in 2016, the year that Hillary Clinton narrowly lost the presidency to Donald Trump.

"When a race is close everything matters — every demographic group, the number of candidates on the ballot," said Nathan Gonzales, a nonpartisan analyst for Inside Elections. But, he added, that doesn't mean third party candidates will inevitably tip a close race. "We have to be a bit more nuanced."

Some who cast ballots for third party candidates may not otherwise show up to the polls, so it's misleading to presume that every vote for an outside candidate is a vote stolen from a major party.

Arizona voters still see other Green party candidates on their ballot, including two for U.S. Congress, a gubernatorial candidate and five state legislative candidates.

The Associate Press contributed to this report. 

Claire Caulfield was a reporter and Morning Edition producer at KJZZ from 2015 to 2019.