According to ABC News, Democrat Katie Hobbs is expected to win her race against Republican Kari Lake, flipping the Arizona governor’s seat for the first time in more than a decade, as voters across the country appear to have delivered a stunning rejection of election deniers in midterm elections.
Hobbs said in a statement following her expected victory, “I want to thank the voters for entrusting me with this enormous responsibility. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime honor, and I will do everything in my power to make you proud. I’d like to express my gratitude to my family, our volunteers, and the campaign staff. This night would not be possible without all of your hard work, passion, and sacrifice. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.”
Lake, one of Trump’s favorite endorsees, left her job as a local TV news anchor last year, citing dissatisfaction with the media, and months later announced her candidacy for governor, claiming that God and Arizona voters had compelled her to do so. Lake campaigned as a “ultra MAGA” and a “mama bear” fighting for the “Arizona First” movement, and she promised to declare an invasion at the state’s southern border as her first act as governor.
Lake supported Trump’s attacks on the election, which he lost. On the campaign trail, she frequently referred to President Joe Biden as “illegitimate” and stated that she would not have fulfilled her legal obligation to certify his victory in 2020. If elected governor, she said she would sign legislation to eliminate electronic counting machines and move to “one-day voting” in the state where voting by mail is a popular option.
Lake is widely regarded as a candidate who will accept defeat after all votes are counted, owing to her embrace of election denialism.
When asked if she would concede her race if she lost last month, Lake told ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl that she would if the election was “fair, honest, and transparent.”
Throughout the campaign, Lake repeatedly asked Hobbs to step down as secretary of state, insisted she was “not losing to Katie Hobbs,” and recently hired Republican National Committee attorney Harmeet Dhillon as her team considers legal challenges to the vote.
Hobbs is the third statewide Democrat projected by ABC to win their midterm election this year, following Sen. Mark Kelly and Adrian Fontes, who will succeed Hobbs as Secretary of State. While the Republican ticket campaigned together more often than not, the Democrats frequently appeared separately, despite a coordinated campaign under Mission for Arizona, raising questions about ticket unity.
Hobbs was chastised by pundits and voters alike for refusing to debate Lake, whom Lake referred to as a “coward,” but she insisted she would not engage Lake and “make Arizona the subject of national ridicule.”
The Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts called Hobbs’ refusal to debate Lake “a new level of political malpractice.”
Lake also cited a winning lawsuit filed by Talonya Adams, a former staffer in Hobbs’ state Senate office who was fired, as evidence of Hobbs’ racism and sexism. Last year, Hobbs said of Adams, “I can state unequivocally that my decision to terminate was not influenced by race or gender. There were other considerations.”
Hobbs chose a low-key campaign in comparison to Lake’s rallies and moderated Q&A sessions, which drew hundreds. Lake, like Trump, embraced – and frequently sparred with – the press.
Republicans including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and Steve Bannon flocked to Arizona to fuel the enthusiasm for Lake.
But Trump also drew large crowds in Arizona – and, importantly, lost to Biden by more than 10,000 votes in 2020.
There were also notable names who campaigned against Lake. Outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney spent money on TV ads in Arizona, with clips of her saying during a Q&A at Arizona State University’s McCain Institute, “I don’t think I’ve ever voted for a Democrat, but if I lived in Arizona now, I would. As well as governor and secretary of state.”
Former President Barack Obama also chimed in, saying that being governor requires “more than snappy lines and good lighting.”