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McSally closely leads against Barber in midterm election

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Rebecca Noble and | The Daily Wildcat

Political science senior Jose Guadalupe-Conchas rejoices as he watches the latest local polling results scroll by during Rep. Ron Barber's election party at the Tucson Marriott University Park on Tuesday. The atmosphere of Barber's election party was generally confident that the Democrat would win the race.

The vote tally in the still-undecided 2nd Congressional District election remained close Wednesday night with Republican Martha McSally holding a slight edge over incumbent Democrat Ron Barber as ballots continued to trickle in.

McSally is leading Barber by just 1,293 votes out of the 187,755 ballots counted so far, according to the secretary of state’s office. All precincts have reported their results now, but thousands of ballots still remain to be counted and it could take days to determine the winner of the race.

According to a statement from the Pima County Communications Office, there are still about 10,000 provisional ballots to be counted, and the process for counting those votes could take up to 10 days.

Vote counting was also delayed in Cochise County due to technical difficulties. Cochise County election officials posted a message on their website early Wednesday explaining the delay.

“Due to technical difficulties, the early ballot counting machine did not match the hand count,” the message read. “Therefore, early ballots are in the process of being delivered to Graham County where they will be counted by their equipment.”

The votes, however, were counted and posted by Wednesday afternoon, which gave McSally a slightly larger lead.

The close nature of the race bears similarities to the 2012 race when Barber and McSally first squared off for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District seat. That election took days to determine the winner, and Barber ended up beating McSally by fewer than 2,500 votes.

Both candidates remained optimistic Wednesday that they would win.

Ashley Nash-Hahn, a spokeswoman for the Ron Barber campaign, said they were confident Barber would win the early ballots and ultimately be re-elected.

“This isn’t our first rodeo,” Nash-Hahn said. “Two years ago, we woke up the day after the election with a significant vote deficit, but when the last early ballots were counted, Ron triumphed.”

A statement from the Martha McSally campaign released on Wednesday stressed patience as the votes continued to be counted. The campaign said that after the long election season, voters want nothing more than to know the winner.

“But while the democratic process can be slower than we want at times, it’s critical to making sure all Arizonans have their voices heard,” the statement read. “We worked hard for every vote, and we intend to make sure that every vote is counted.”

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