Katie Hobbs projected to win Arizona governor race, defeating Kari Lake

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Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) was expected to win the race for Arizona governor on Monday by narrowly defeating Republican Kari Lake, a prominent election denier Hobbs called a threat to democracy.

Hobbs presented herself as a moderate alternative to an extreme candidate who, she argued, could wreak havoc if elected. The Democrat oversaw the 2020 election in Arizona and defended it against the baseless allegations of misdemeanor that Lake, a former TV anchor, placed at the center of her campaign.

Shortly after the Associated Press and major networks declared the race, six days after voting ended in the state, Hobbs posted a tweet declare victory. “Democracy is worth waiting for,” she wrote. Thank you Arizona. I am so honored and so proud to be your next governor.”

Lake didn’t appear to accept defeat, casting doubt on the results an hour later in a tweet that read, “Arizons know BS when they see it.”

On the campaign trail, Hobbs said she would protect abortion rights in Arizona, where new restrictions came into effect afterward Roe against Wade was overthrown. She also tried to appeal to Arizona’s independent and moderate Republican voters and gained some support from prominent conservatives who were uncomfortable with the GOP’s direction. Relatives of the late Republican Senator John McCain were in attendance at a Hobbs fundraiser, while the political action committee of Rep. Liz Cheney (right), Trump’s most vociferous GOP critic in Congress, ran ads against Lake.

But Hobbs’ race with Lake was tight until the end, as Lake fired up the GOP base and took advantage of broader factors working in her party’s favor, such as high inflation and a backlash on federal border policies. When Hobbs refused to debate Lake — saying Lake wanted a “spectacle” rather than a discussion — she was criticized from both sides of the aisle.

Much of the Republican establishment in Arizona worked against Lake in the GOP primary and supported a more traditional candidate, Karrin Taylor Robson, who won the Trump’s False Election Claims. And many worried that Lake, a Trump loyalist, would lose a purple state known for electing moderates like McCain — whom Lake mocked. “We drove a stake through the heart of the McCain machine,” she declared at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, making a stabbing motion for emphasis.

But even critics recognized Lake’s charisma, and former opponents, including Governor Doug Ducey (R), the co-chair of the Republican Governors Association, eventually rallied behind her.

Hobbs, a former social worker and state legislator, became Arizona’s secretary of state in 2018, turning the chair blue for the first time in more than 20 years. That put her next in line should the governor leave office — and put her on the front line of election officials facing threats and false allegations of misconduct in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Americans learned Hobbs, who that election became a fixture on national television as a counterbalance to election denial in a state that spawned unproven theories surrounding Trump’s loss.

As governor, Lake would have played a role in certifying the vote in a major battleground for 2024. And if she won, Lake was willing to convene a special legislative session at the U.S. Capitol to try to make sweeping changes to the Arizona voting systems, which she mocked. She campaigned with other GOP nominees who also denied the 2020 election results, including far-right Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem, who along with Lake sought to ban voting machines in the state. Finchem was expected to lose last Friday along with Trump-backed GOP senate candidate Blake Masters, who challenged Senator Mark Kelly (D).

“We know that my opponent and her allies have created doubt and confusion throughout this campaign,” Hobbs said in an election night speech, reminding people that it would take time to count the votes.

Hobbs’ win means the Democrats have netted two governorships, with wins in Arizona, Maryland and Massachusetts offset by a GOP win in Nevada. In the swing state of Nevada, Republican Sheriff Joe Lombardo impeached Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) while criticizing his handling of crime, the coronavirus pandemic and the economy. But despite high GOP expectations for even blue states like New York and Oregon, Democratic incumbents held their own in other places — including in toss-up races in Wisconsin, Michigan and Kansas.

Hobbs’ victory surprised many Republicans and even some Democrats. Agents expecting a narrow win from Kelly nonetheless predicted that Hobbs — who was not a dominant presence on the campaign trail — would fall for the former news anchor widely known in metropolitan Phoenix, home to most of the state’s voters.

Even as incomplete results midway through last week began to point to a win for Kelly in the Senate, GOP modeling still gave Lake an edge over her Democratic opponent, according to those familiar with the numbers. By the weekend, however, the dynamic had shifted, with a Lake adviser calling the governor’s race a “coin toss.”

Republican fears increased after the results showed that Lake did not perform as well as expected, especially among independent voters, according to a person familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak them publicly. discuss.

Lake spent the final days of the campaign catering to the GOP base rather than courting independents, a move that baffled some strategists and donors. More than a third of Arizona voters are unaffiliated, according to state data, just below the share who identify as Republicans and slightly more than the share of Democrats.

She continued to attack McCain, asking a crowd, “We don’t have any McCain Republicans here, do we?” Damn out!” She took Stephen K. Bannon, former White House chief strategist and executive chairman of Breitbart News, onstage and raved about his far-right radio show, “War Room.”

She also baselessly insinuated that Hillary Clinton was trying to assassinate her and asked her audience to applaud Wendy Rogers, a far-right state legislator who has promoted white nationalists as “patriots” and called for her political opponents to be executed. must build more gallows.”

The approach captivated masses of die-hard supporters, but the enthusiasm doesn’t seem to have translated into a coalition broad enough to win.

While the vote count was still underway, some Republicans acknowledged that messages from Trump, Lake, state GOP party chairman Kelli Ward and others to vote in person or to drop off early ballots at polling places on Election Day, may have affected GOP turnout. The instructions went against the popularity of early voting in the state, and in the final days of the election, early voting GOP performance in Maricopa County plummeted.

The GOP strategy was based on a smooth running of the election. Instead, about a third of county-wide polling stations had problems with printers producing ballots on demand, sparking a cascade of unsubstantiated allegations from Lake, Trump and other Republicans that the problems were disproportionately focused on GOP territories. County officials pushed back vigorously, and a Washington Post data analysis found that GOP areas in the county were not disproportionately affected by the troubles.

Yvonne Wingett Sanchez in Phoenix and Amy B Wang in Washington contributed to this report.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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