Wed, July 17

Hoffman 54,000 votes ahead of Riggs for AZ schools chief

Kathy Hoffman

Kathy Hoffman

PHOENIX -- Democrats will take at least one statewide office for the next four years.

The latest vote tallies show that Kathy Hoffman now has a 54,000-vote lead over Republican Frank Riggs in the race for superintendent of public instruction.

With Monday’s results, there are only about 175,000 votes left to be counted, most of those from Maricopa County. And the latest vote tallies from the state’s largest counties have been breaking heavily in Hoffman’s favor.

There was no immediate comment from Riggs.

Hoffman will assume control of the Department of Education from Republican Diane Douglas.

The often-controversial state schools chief was defeated by Riggs in a five-way Republican primary.

Those new vote tallies Monday also produced welcome news for Democrat Katie Hobbs in her bid for secretary of state.

With all the results of Monday added in, she now is formally nearly 5,700 votes ahead of Steve Gaynor who has found his lead shrinking since the polls closed and the first results were announced. That, however, remains too close to make any reliable predictions.

Incumbent Secretary of State Michele Reagan was out of the running in August after she was defeated in the Republican primary by Gaynor.

Democrat Sandra Kennedy also maintains a 10,000-vote lead over Republican Justin Olson, her closest competitor in the race for Arizona Corporation Commission. But even if that lead evaporates, she still has 15,000 more votes than Rodney Glassman, the other Republican running for one of the two open seats on the utility regulatory panel.

The continued strength of Democrats, especially in Maricopa County, showed up in other ways with the latest vote tallies.

Democrat Jennifer Pawlik, seeking one of two state House seats in LD 17 in Chandler now is outpolling incumbent Republican Jeff Weninger, though just barely. But she definitely is doing better than Nora Ellen, the other Republican in the race for the two open seats.

But incumbent Republican Sen. Kate Brophy McGee of Phoenix continues to hold on to a slim lead -- just 549 votes -- over Democrat Christine Marsh who is trying to unseat her.

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