Brnovich, the first high-ranking Republican in Arizona to reject the president’s fraud claims in the state, added Trump would have to win 65 percent of the less than 50,000 remaining votes to edge out a victory, a dubious outcome based on expert analysis and historical trends. It would be “very, highly unlikely to happen,” Brnovich said.
Fox News, the Associated Press and Decision Desk HQ have all declared Biden the winner of Arizona. As of Thursday morning, The Washington Post has yet to call the race. With 99 percent of the ballots counted as of Thursday morning, Biden leads by more than 11,600, according to The Post.
The GOP attorney general’s rebuke comes in a week of unproven accusations of voter fraud from the Trump campaign that has caused the president’s lawyers, the Republican National Committee and the Arizona Republican Party to file a lawsuit against Maricopa County alleging poll workers incorrectly invalidated thousands of ballots cast in person.
Brnovich, along with attorneys representing Arizona election officials, have resolutely debunked the Trump campaign’s claims this week.
On Wednesday, the attorney general noted the number of supposed invalidated ballots is much smaller than Trump’s deficit in the race. “We are literally talking about less than 200 votes that are in question and doubt,” Brnovich said. Even if those votes flipped, he said, they wouldn’t be enough to secure a Trump victory.
Brnovich also derided suggestions of any larger scheme to cheat election results, pointing to the success of Republicans in statewide elections. The state’s Republican-controlled legislature didn’t flip, despite predictions it might. Neither did the county attorney or several congressional districts that leaned Democrat.
“So if indeed there was some great conspiracy theory, it apparently didn’t work,” Brnovich said.
Instead, many people split their ballot by voting for Biden and Senator-elect Mark Kelly (D), who defeated incumbent Sen. Martha McSally (R), while also voting Republican in down-ballot races, Brnovich said.
He also addressed an Election Day rumor, which was endorsed by an Arizona congressman, that ballots marked with Sharpies were disqualified. Brnovich acknowledged the concerns, writing a letter to Republican county officials asking them to investigate — a move that spawned blowback from the left. But Brnovich quickly determined there was no problem.
“We were able to determine that did not affect anyone’s vote,” Brnovich said. “They also did a random audit of 2 percent of the precincts, and it came back 100 percent that there wasn’t any statistical anomalies or errors.”
Brnovich isn’t the only Republican elections official in a battleground state rejecting the party’s embrace of Trump’s fraud claims. Despite demands from Georgia’s GOP senators that he step down, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) held strong on Wednesday in his assertion that there was no voter fraud. Raffensperger did, however, call for a hand recount of the presidential vote, as a show of good faith to his own party.
Like Raffensperger, Brnovich, whose wife was nominated in 2018 by Trump to a federal judgeship in Phoenix, said he’s focusing on the real information in the election.
“I’m used to dealing with facts and evidence,” Brnovich said, noting his experience as a prosecutor. “Quite frankly, I’m not in this job to win friends, or whatever you want to call it. I’m in this job to do right by the people of Arizona and to make sure the law is followed.”
Derek Hawkins contributed to this report.