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Arizona US Senate: Sinema widens lead over McSally, Trump suggests election re-do

The Arizona U.S. Senate race between U.S. Republican Rep. Martha McSally (left) and Democrat Rep. candidate Kyrsten Sinema is still razor close as state counties continue counting mail-in ballots following Tuesday’s election. On Friday, Sinema widened her lead against McSally. The two candidates are shown here at an Arizona State University game the weekend before the election. (Photos by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has increased her lead over GOP Rep. Martha McSally in the tight Arizona U.S. Senate race, according to published reports.

What's the latest?

The latest tally of votes published late Friday shows Sinema has more than doubled her lead over her Republican challenger by about 20,203 votes or just over one percentage point. Earlier on Friday, Sinema led by 9,100 votes for a 0.48 percentage point advantage out of nearly 2 million votes cast.

Most of the votes came from Maricopa County, the state’s most populous.

Statewide, about 350,000 ballots are still waiting to be tallied, the Associated Press reported.

After Maricopa, Pima County has the next-largest batch of uncounted ballots – about 30,000, The Hill reported. Pima is also home to the left-leaning Tucson. By Friday afternoon, Sinema was leading there by 14 percentage points.

On Friday, Arizona Republicans agreed to settle a lawsuit regarding the handling of fixing any discrepancies with mail-in ballots. Under the settlement, rural counties will be afforded the chance to address problems with mail-in ballots, as is the case in larger counties, the Associated Press reported. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday.

What did Trump say?

President Donald Trump chimed in on Twitter, suggesting a re-do of the Arizona Senate election over the procedures for verifying mail-in ballots and what he called the appearance of electoral corruption.

"Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption - Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

Both Maricopa and Pima counties allow up to five days after Election Day to contact voters if there is a discrepancy between signatures on voter registration and the sealed mail-in ballot envelope. The lawsuit alleged that the practice is improper because it is not uniform across every state county.

Now the state’s 15 counties will have until Nov. 14 to verify and fix any mail-in ballots.

"This is a really great day for us," state GOP attorney Kory Langhofer told the Associated Press. "The rural counties who were not going to be counting Republican votes on the same terms as the Democratic counties, they got caught with their pants down. When they've got to show up in court and explain to the judge what they're doing they gave us everything we were asking for."

Could this really make a difference?

Elections Director Eric Spencer told media less than 10,000 votes are likely to be impacted out of more than 2.3 million cast statewide.

Still, in a race this close, the votes could make the difference between a win or a loss for either candidate.

The two congresswomen are competing to fill a seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

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