Democrat Katie Hobbs defeats Trump-backed Kari Lake in Arizona governor’s race

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs speaks at a roundtable event in Phoenix, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. © Ross D. Franklin/AP

Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, was elected governor of Arizona on Monday, defeating a Trump ally who erroneously claimed the 2020 election was rigged and refused to swear she would accept the results of her contest this year.

Hobbs, the secretary of state for Arizona, gained prominence as a fierce defender of the legality of the most recent election, and she warned that her Republican opponent, former television news presenter Kari Lake, would be a source of turmoil.

The triumph of Hobbs is another indication that Trump is weighing down his allies in a vital battleground state as the former president prepares to announce his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election.

She will follow Republican Governor Doug Ducey, who could not run again due to term limits. Since 2006, when Janet Napolitano was elected governor, she is the first Democrat to be elected in Arizona.

"I will fight just as hard for the Arizonans who did not vote for me, because even in this moment of division, I believe there is so much more that unites us," Hobbs said in a victory statement. It was about pushing this state ahead and tackling the challenges of our generation, not just winning an election.

Lake did not comment immediately upon the race's cancellation.

The Associated Press declared Hobbs the winner of the governor's race after the most recent round of vote disclosures gave her a sufficiently large lead that the AP concluded she would not lose it.

The Associated Press reported that despite Lake's expanding margins in Maricopa County vote updates, she was not collecting a significant enough percentage to surpass Hobbs and was running out of votes.

Since Tuesday's election, officials proceeded to count enormous volumes of late-arriving ballots, prolonging the vote count by days.

Arizona, a once-Republican bastion where Democrats have made gains during the Trump period, has been at the center of Trump and his allies' efforts to cast doubt on Joe Biden's 2020 presidential election by making false charges of fraud.

This year, several Trump-backed candidates in battleground states lost in the general election, except Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo, who defeated an incumbent Democrat.

Before entering politics, Hobbs worked as a social worker with homeless adolescents and as an executive with a big Phoenix-area domestic violence shelter.

In 2010, she was elected to the state legislature, where she served one term in the House and three terms in the Senate, eventually becoming the minority leader.

Hobbs won a close victory as secretary of state in 2018 and was forced into the heart of a political tempest when Arizona became the focal point of Trump and his allies' efforts to alter the results of the 2020 election he lost.

She frequently appeared on cable television to defend the validity of the vote count.

She was able to raise millions of dollars and gain prominence due to the attention she received. When she declared her candidacy for governor, several famous Democrats declined to run, and Hobbs won her primary with relative ease.

She generally adhered to scripted and choreographed public appearances during her campaign.

She declined to engage in a dispute with Lake because she believed he would turn it into a spectacle by spreading conspiracy theories and making false charges.

She banked instead that voters would reject Lake, who engaged in verbal battles with journalists while cameras rolled and adopted a confrontational stance toward Democrats and even the Republican establishment, which has long dominated state government.

Even though pre-election surveys indicated that the race was tight, Hobbs' victory was a shock to many Democrats who worried her timidity would turn off voters.

She exceeded expectations in Maricopa and Pima counties, where the vast majority of Arizona voters reside in the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas.

She also spent much time in rural areas to minimize her losses in historically Republican strongholds.

After more than two decades of anchoring the evening news in Phoenix, Lake is well-known throughout the majority of the state. She campaigned as a fervent opponent of the mainstream media, which she claimed was biased against Republicans.

She won Trump's appreciation for her unwavering dedication to challenging the 2020 election results, a stance she maintained even after winning the Republican primary.

She falsely claimed election authorities of slowing down the vote count this year and favoring Democratic ballots when she trailed Hobbs by a close margin in the days following the election.

She cited difficulty with printers at approximately one-third of Maricopa County polling places as the reason why some ballots were rejected by onsite tabulators. Officials instructed voters to place votes in a separate box to be counted later, but Republican leaders instructed their supporters to disregard this advice, causing lines to back up in several locations.

Approximately 7% of ballots cast in person on Election Day and 1% of all ballots cast in the county were affected by the issue.

Sheriff Paul Penzone of Maricopa County stated that he enhanced security around the center of the election on Monday in anticipation that the race would be called and that passions could run high, despite the absence of a specific danger.

He stated that demonstrators have congregated outside the building for several days while remaining peaceful.

"I believe we're towards the conclusion of the game, so I want to make sure we're prepared," Penzone told reporters hours before the race call.

The sheriff's office was taken off guard two years ago when armed and irate demonstrators descended on the elections building in downtown Phoenix after Fox News and the Associated Press called Arizona for Biden, marking the first time in more than a quarter-century that a Democrat won the state.

Publish : 2022-11-15 11:40:00

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