A House Freedom Caucus-backed candidate in Arizona seized the lead over his GOP establishment-aligned primary contender by nine votes after unofficial results were posted Saturday morning — a stunning comeback that will likely trigger a recount.
Conservative candidate Andy Biggs pulled ahead of millionaire Christine Jones after final ballots were counted since the Tuesday primary, the Arizona Republica reported. Self-funded candidate Jones had led Biggs by several hundred votes on Wednesday morning, results the Associated Press said was too close to call.
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The findings are sure to cause a stir in Washington: Biggs is one of several GOP primary candidates the House Freedom Caucus endorsed after signaling interest in joining the group should he make it to Washington. The seat’s current representative, retiring caucus member Matt Salmon, endorsed Biggs early in the race. And the conservative Club for Growth has poured nearly $600,000 into backing him.
Establishment Republicans in Washington, conversely, have privately backed Jones, though some such groups made a conscious decision not to fund her simply because she was willing to spend so much of her own money.
“Over the last 48 hours, we have witnessed one of the most remarkable electoral turnarounds in the history of Arizona politics,” Biggs said in a statement. “The fight does not end now. We will now focus on winning the general election in November so we can continue fighting in Congress and change Washington from the inside-out.”
Jones’ campaign, meanwhile, has reportedly raised a stink over revelations that a Biggs campaign official was monitoring the ballot-counting while Jones was barred from the process, the Arizona Republican reported. Officials, however said no ballots were tampered with.
The final vote tally had Biggs at 25,228 votes, Jones at 25,219.