Peterson has 63,166 votes to Nielsen’s 46,279, a 58%-42% margin. Maricopa County Elections Department is reporting 128,547 votes cast, including 19,102 undervotes, overvotes or votes for write-in candidates.
When those votes are factored into the race, Peterson has 49.14% of the vote and Nielsen 33.2%.
In the August primary, Peterson held a slight lead in the early tallies, but Nielsen eventually edged ahead after the in-person votes were counted, 34.93%-34.4%. Early result drops in Arizona reflect early balloting. A third candidate, Lynne King Smith, received 30.67% of the vote, but as the third-place finisher did not qualify for the November runoff.
Peterson noted Nov. 4 that though the percentage lead fell from 59%-41% to 58%-42% with the early evening results release, her lead in votes has been growing.
"It's interesting," she said about that development. "I'm feeling very good, very encouraged."
Nielsen, recalling the previous election, said Nov. 3 he felt he still had strength coming in in-person votes and noted that he had heard four voting centers were not included in the early results.
“[I feel] about the same as the primary,” he said. “I expected that my voters were going to come out stronger in person and even dropping off ballots on the day of election. We talked about that leading up to today. We anticipated this is how it would roll out. So it’s not a big surprise. There’s plenty of votes to be counted. We’re still hopeful and excited to see the results.”
Results are updated as of 7 p.m. Nov. 5 and are unofficial until they are canvassed and certified by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.