Former US President Donald Trump claimed on Friday that Republican candidate Blake Masters lost his bid for the Senate due to “voter fraud” in Arizona. Masters was preliminarily declared to have lost to Democrat Mark Kelly on Friday, after an election marred by malfunctioning machines and slow counting of votes.
“They’re at it again,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform. “Voting machines in large numbers didn’t work, but only in Republican districts. People were forced to wait in line for hours, then got exhausted…and left the voting lines by the thousands.
Arizona to President Joe Biden in 2020.
“They stole the electron (sic) from Blake Masters,” he concluded, demanding that officials in the state “do election over again!”
Kelly was declared the winner by multiple US media outlets on Friday night, with the Democrat incumbent leading Masters by 52% to 46%. Masters has not conceded, however, and 13% of the vote remains to be counted. Should Kelly prevail or Masters accept defeat, control of the US Senate will hinge on Nevada, where Republican Adam Laxalt is leading by less than a percentage point; and Georgia, where a runoff election is set for next month. Republicans need both seats to gain a majority in the upper chamber.
Maricopa County is the largest and most populous county in Arizona, encompassing the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Republicans began sounding the alarm when one in five voting machines in more than 200 polling stations throughout the county broke down on Tuesday. With long queues forming, Masters and a number of other Republican candidates filed an emergency suit to extend voting hours, which was rejected.
Republican suspicions of fraud were heightened when the counting of ballots slowed to a trickle after election day. Although officials in Maricopa County say that tabulating these ballots can take a week or longer, the state of Florida manages to count almost all of its ballots in a single night, despite having four times the population of Maricopa County.
Speaking to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Friday, Masters blamed his struggle in Arizona on miscounted ballots and on Republican leader Mitch McConnell refusing to adequately fund his campaign.