While Republicans appear to have maintained their control over the Senate and even gained at least one seat in their majority in last Tuesday’s elections, several races are still too close to call and are subject to partisan battles over their final outcomes as accusations of cheating fly during the counting of absentee and provisional ballots and early voting tallies.
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One such race is the battle for retiring Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s seat between Republican Congresswoman Marth McSally (R-AZ) and the Democratic candidate, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). While McSally held the slimmest of leads on election night, Sinema has since pulled ahead by less than 30,000 votes as the mail-in ballots and other last-minute votes have been counted.
Naturally having victory snatched from their hands to flip a heretofore solidly Republican seat has not made national GOP officials very happy. They immediately began accusing Democrats of learning tricks from the Republican playbook all too well, alleging the false notion that the Dems were not only engaging in the type of voter suppression tactics to which they believed they owned the patent to but actively destroying evidence of ballot tampering.
Thus, it appears that projection is not just something that President Trump enjoys employing in his attack arsenal, but has migrated to National Republican Senate Committee officials as well.
A former aide to the late Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Mark Salter, saw the ruckus that the NRSC was raising and felt embarrassed as a Republican to see party propaganda value victory over voters’ intent in determining the outcome of the hotly contested election. He took to Twitter to castigate his own fellow Republicans over their conduct as the votes were fully tabulated.
Stop doing this, NRSC. McSally is losing fair and square, and she’s underperforming in more than Maricopa. The race is almost certainly lost and nothing will change that. All this does is poison our politics more. Despicable. https://t.co/b5ma1o0ikD
— Mark Salter (@MarkSalter55) November 10, 2018
Salter’s attack on the NRSC’s despicable poison politics is not only perfectly valid, but reflects that the tone of the political environment is set by party leaders. With President Trump creating a hazardous waste zone surrounding his entire presidency, it’s unsurprising to see his brand of take-no-prisoners campaigning trickle down to state-level electoral tallying.
At least something is trickling down, since none of the promised windfalls from the Republican billionaire tax break has made its way down from the tony heights where the oligarchs dwell.
At least on the local level, state-level Republican election officials are behaving better than their counterparts in Florida and Georgia where the other extremely tight still-contested elections are being tabulated. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski praised Michele Reagan, the Arizona Secretary of State, for trying to dispel rumors of election tampering by sore-losing conspiracy theorists.
The Arizona Secretary of State, a Republican, has a blog post dispelling conspiracies about the vote totals coming in. https://t.co/nA66L93h5L
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) November 10, 2018
Hopefully, Kyrsten Sinema will maintain her lead as the count is completed and Republicans will add one fewer seat to their majority in the Senate. Just don’t expect the Republicans to give up without a fight — and a bunch of false accusations — along the way.
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Original reporting by Chris Mills Rodrigo at The Hill.