Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Democratic election leader who built a national profile by standing up to false claims about the 2020 presidential election, has won the state’s race for governor.
The The Bharat Express News, NBC News and CNN called the race for Hobbs shortly after 7 p.m. local time Monday, following a pulse-pounding week of election results that highlighted the competitiveness of politics in the state.
Late-race polls showed Hobbs trailing her GOP opponent Kari Lake, the former television news anchor embraced by former President Donald Trump for her baseless claims of a stolen 2020 election. Instead, voters offered a stunning rebuke to Lake, who was one of the country’s most prominent election deniers.
With Hobbs’ victory, Arizonans followed suit with voters in other battleground states rejecting gubernatorial candidates who advanced false claims of election results.
As Arizona’s 24th governor, Hobbs will be the fifth woman to hold the elected highest office, more than any other state.
The toss-up race was one of the most watched races in the country, a reflection of the swing state’s political landscape changing from ruby to purple in recent years.
The tension lasted nearly a week after election day, while the vote count between Hobbs and Lake remained too low to reliably declare a winner. Hobbs initially had a 14 percentage point lead on election night, which Lake knocked out as the vote count continued.
That course echoed former President Donald Trump’s slow comeback against Joe Biden as the votes were counted in 2020. Like Trump, Lake ultimately failed to outrank the Democrat.
To summarise: Arizona Democrat Katie Hobbs wins gubernatorial race, beats Republican election denier Kari Lake
Hobbs, 52, was narrowly elected secretary of state in 2018, after serving eight years in the Arizona legislature. As Secretary of State, she oversaw elections and some business documents. In that position, she also defended Biden’s victory despite Trump’s unprecedented attempts to stay in power, earning herself a national profile.
Prior to becoming a legislator, Hobbs worked in behavioral health and handled contracts and lobbied for the Sojourner Center, one of the nation’s largest domestic violence shelters. She is from Tempe, married to a child therapist, and they have two adult children.
Her campaign for governor centered on a pledge to restore abortion rights that were limited when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year. She has plans to increase teacher salaries and create tax credits for Arizona residents pursuing career and technical education and lower-income families and children.
But the hallmark of her pitch to Arizonans was that Hobbs would defend democracy, and she portrayed Lake as too extreme because of her reluctance to say she would accept defeat and because of her earlier comments that she won’t accept Biden’s 2020 win. would have certified. Whether Lake will yield to Hobbs is unknown.
Arizona 2022 Election Results: Live updates
The choice for Arizonans was not Republican or Democrat, but “common sense versus chaos,” Hobbs reiterated during the campaign trail.
Arizonans last elected a Democratic governor in 2006, when they elected Janet Napolitano to a second term. Napolitano was first elected in 2002 and resigned in 2009 to serve in the administration of then-President Barack Obama.
Hobbs outranked Lake ahead of the November election and also outspent her more in the cycle. With outside money trying to influence the race, $24.6 million supported Hobbs’ bid compared to $19.4 million backing Lake, according to the latest financial reports.
While the race echoed national themes, with Lake harping on border security, inflation, and blasting Hobbs for refusing to debate her, it was dynamic in other ways, too.
Lake also built a national profile both for her loyalty to Trump and how much she leaned on her nearly three-decade career as a television anchor to present herself to voters on social media and along the campaign trail.
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Hobbs came out less polished even after a 12-year career in elected office, but she survived controversies, including the lingering taint of a discrimination case that unfolded while Hobbs was a leader in the Senate.
Lake stormed the state, drawing large, Trump-esque crowds in rallies that at times sounded more like a rock show, pitching her anti-COVID-19 mandate stance and culture war campaign to the more than 7 million people who call Arizona home. Hobbs circuited smaller events and spoke to advocates on issues such as women’s health care and housing.
The candidates’ run to the finish line included a few twists and turns and visits from high-profile surrogates.
Surprises included an apparently random break-in at Hobbs’ campaign headquarters and a panic attack at Lake’s office with white powder in letters posted, though it turned out that there was no powder at all. Trump returned to Grand Canyon State in October to support Lake’s bid, and Obama stumped Hobbs and other Democrats on November 2.
Hobbs will succeed two-year Governor Doug Ducey, a more established Republican who led the state from financial disaster to surplus. She will take the oath of office in January.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Katie Hobbs Elected Arizona Governor, Defeating Kari Lake