Nearly a week after Election Day, Kyrsten Sinema’s growing lead translated into an official victory in Arizona’s 9th Congressional District.
With Sinema leading by 5,789 on Monday morning, the Associated Press called the race for the former state legislator. At the time the AP called the race, Sinema held a 2.7-point lead over Republican nominee Vernon Parker.
Sinema, a Democrat from central Phoenix, was on a flight to Washington, D.C. when the AP called the race. In a press statement, Sinema said she was grateful and honored to serve the people of Arizona once again.
“My job is to represent all of the people in CD9 whether they voted for me or not. The voters have given us a clear ‘to do’ list – work to fix our economy, reduce our ballooning debt and better protect the middle class. I am eager to get to work and I intend to team up with anyone of any party who is willing to help change Congress and move our country forward,” Sinema said.
At the end of election night, Sinema led Parker by about 2,100 votes. But as Maricopa County election officials continued their count through the weekend, Sinema continued to pull ahead.
“We started with a 2,100 lead … and every day that lead grew. And we felt confident that would happen because the voters of this district are concerned about jobs, they’re concerned about the economy and they’re not concerned about the tea party values of social issues and outdated ideas. So we felt confident,” Sinema told the Arizona Capitol Times.
Parker, the former mayor of Paradise Valley, called Sinema to congratulate her.
“I want to thank the voters and the people of Arizona and certainly hope we can work together to get this economy moving again, by putting politics aside and putting the American people first. While I had wished for a different outcome, I will continue my public service so that everybody can follow the American dream just like I did,” Parker said in a press statement.
The hypercompetitive district was expected to be one of the closest races in the state. Republicans hold a small registration advantage in CD9, which covers Tempe, central Phoenix and parts of Chandler, Mesa and Scottsdale, but Democrats have a slight performance advantage in the district.
Sinema raised about $1.6 million for her campaign, compared to about $800,000 for Parker. Outside groups spent about $2.4 million more, bombarding the airwaves with attack ads about how Sinema was “too extreme” to represent the district, or how Parker would undermine Medicare and Social Security.
Sinema said her first order of business would be to find colleagues at Tuesday’s orientation she can work with in the upcoming Congress.
“I’m a big fan of working across the aisle to solve problems and finding people that I can work with, so that’s what I’m going to focus on, first and foremost,” she said.
Libertarian candidate Powell Gammill, whose most notable contribution to the CD9 race was a plea for people not to vote on Nov. 6, was 13,307 votes.