Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva apparently has held on to his Congressional District 7 seat in a close race with Republican Ruth McClung.
New vote totals released by the Pima County elections office and Arizona secretary of state show Grijalva has expanded his slim election-night lead over McClung to about 6,000 votes. The new total comes mostly from 17,000 additional votes counted in Pima County on Thursday, along with some more votes from other counties that make up a smaller portion of the district's population.
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords also expanded her lead over Republican challenger Jesse Kelly. But with about 30,000 uncounted ballots remaining in Pima County - many of them in her Congressional District 8, their race remains too close to call. The new totals, which show Giffords with about a 3,000-vote lead, include updated returns from Cochise and Pima counties.
Grijalva's lead stands at 49 percent to McClung's 45 percent. Giffords' advantage over Kelly is 49 percent to 47 percent.
In another cliffhanger, Proposition 203, to legalize medical marijuana, became an even tighter race with a new round of statewide counting. The proposition now trails 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent.
While Grijalva already had made a tentative declaration of victory on election night, he sounded cautious but optimistic after the new vote totals came out Thursday.
Grijalva said he believes the remaining votes will follow the same trend, further increasing his lead.
He said the race will be settled in Pima County, where he's traditionally won the district and holds a strong lead.
Grijalva said: "We feel like we did on election night. The decision comes down to Pima County, and the voters in Pima County said we're in good shape, and we continue to believe that."
McClung continued to hold off on making a statement until all of the votes are counted.
"In politics, you never know. We're just going to wait and see until all the votes are counted," she said Thursday.
Giffords' campaign sent out a cautious statement Thursday, noting that she has led since the polls closed on Tuesday, and that the majority of uncounted ballots were from Pima County, where Giffords holds a solid advantage.
Adam Kwasman, Kelly's campaign manager, said, "We're waiting for all of the votes to be counted, and we're going to take it from there." Kwasman estimated about 20,000 votes remain to count among the four counties - Cochise along with parts of Pima, Santa Cruz and Pinal - that make up the district.
"I think the race is definitely going to tighten," he said.
Elections Director Brad Nelson said he hoped to process another 17,000 early votes today, leaving about 13,000 provisional ballots outstanding. By state law, those must be counted by next Friday.
Another tight race, for the House in Legislative District 26, also remains too close to call. Republican newcomer Terri Proud is the top vote-getter and appears likely to claim one of the district's seats. Republican incumbent Vic Williams has about 850 votes more than Democratic incumbent Nancy Young Wright for the second seat.
Statewide, there are roughly 221,000 early ballots remaining, along with 83,000 provisional ballots.
Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4243. Contact reporter Andrea Kelly at email@example.com or 807-7790.