by Jim Nintzel
With Cochise County wrapping up its vote count, the tight race between Congressman Ron Barber and Martha McSally is down to the provisional ballots left to count in Pima County. Team Barber had a lead of 709 votes as of this morning.
Today, Team Barber's Jessica Floyd released a memo detailing why she believes Barber will win:
To: Interested Parties
From: Jessica Floyd, Campaign Manager
Re: State of the AZ-02 Vote Count
Date: Thursday, November 15, 2012
With Cochise County finished counting all ballots, Pima County finished counting early ballots, and only provisional ballots in Pima County remaining, we see that Congressman Ron Barber is likely to prevail in his bid for a full term representing Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District. There are three trends that point to this likely outcome.
1. Barber's Steady Strength in the Count
Since Election Day, each day has ended with Barber in a stronger position than when that day began. At the end of Election Night, Martha McSally led, but over the next few days she saw her advantage disappear. Since then, Barber's lead has grown each day. Below are the vote margins at the end of each day:
11/6: McSally was up more than 1,000 votes
11/7: McSally +426
11/8: McSally +81
11/9: McSally +36
11/10: Barber +223
11/11: Barber +330
11/12: Barber +512
11/13: Barber +654
11/14: Barber +709
The trend is clear: every day, Barber's lead grows.
2. Counting Complete In Cochise County; Provisional Ballots in Pima County Will Favor Barber
As of today, there are no remaining ballots to be counted from Cochise County, where McSally has performed better than Barber. This means that opportunities for McSally to make up ground have narrowed.
With Barber up by 709 votes and vote-counting in Cochise County complete, Pima County now moves to finish counting provisional ballots. These ballots tend to favor Democratic candidates. Specifically, in the AZ-08 special election of June 2012, Barber won provisional ballots with 59.75 percent, while he won the overall vote in Pima County by 53.5 percent.
As of now, there are roughly 27,000 provisional ballots in Pima County (where Barber has prevailed). While not every Pima provisional will fall into AZ-02, we estimate that over 10,000 of these ballots will. This final round of ballots will come from the geographic area of Barber's strength.
3. Desperate Measures from the GOP
On Tuesday, November 13, Republican lawyers — including one who has worked for McSally — asked a judge to stop the counting of over 100 ballots, the majority of which came from a majority Latino, Democratic-leaning precinct. Campaigns that are confident of winning do not go to court and ask judges to stop votes from being counted. This attempt to cherry-pick which votes get counted and which do not shows that McSally and her backers in Washington and Phoenix are desperate, and that they expect McSally to lose once all the votes are counted.
UPDATED: National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Daniel Scarpinato responds via email:
As we’ve maintained throughout this process, it is important that all legally cast ballots are counted before the outcome of this race is declared.
We've got background on the vote count here.