AP Declares Grijalva Winner

Posted November 4, 2010 at 10:10pm

Updated: 12:12 a.m.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) gained enough of a lead over GOP challenger Ruth McClung that the Associated Press called the race for the incumbent Thursday night.

Grijalva struggled in his campaign for a fifth term in southwestern Arizona’s 7th district because of his call for a boycott over Arizona’s new immigration law, which requires police to determine the immigration status of anybody who they suspect may be in the country illegally.

Vote tallies released Thursday showed Grijalva’s lead had widened from 3 percent to 4.5 percent, enough for the AP to declare him the winner.

Meanwhile, a campaign spokesman for Rep. Melissa Bean said Thursday night that the Illinois Democrat’s race against Republican Joe Walsh in the 8th district is still too close to call.

“Today’s counting of absentee ballots shrunk the margin by 188 votes, to just 365 votes between the Congresswoman and Mr. Walsh,” spokesman Jonathan Lipman said. “With more than 4,000 ballots potentially outstanding, this race — more than ever — remains too close to call. The Congresswoman’s campaign will continue to work to understand the will of the voters.”

Democrats thought Bean, a Republican target in every cycle since she was elected in 2004, was out of the woods after Walsh upset the establishment candidate in the February primary, but the tea party favorite gained steam in the last several weeks of the election.

Lauren W. Whittington contributed to this report.