PHOENIX (AP) – Democrat Katie Hobbs Elected governor of Arizona on Monday, defeated an ally of Donald Trump who falsely claimed the 2020 election was rigged and refused to say he would accept the results of his race this year.
Hobbs, the secretary of state of Arizona, rose to prominence as a staunch defender of the legitimacy of the last election and warned that his Republican rival, former television news anchor Kari Lake., will be an agent of chaos. Hobbs’ victory adds more evidence that Trump is weighing up his allies in an important battleground state as the former president prepares for his 2024 presidential bid.
He will replace Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who is barred by term limit laws from running again. She is the first Democrat to be elected governor of Arizona since Janet Napolitano in 2006.
“For the Arizonans who didn’t vote for me, I will work hard for you — because even in this time of division, I believe there is much more that connects us,” Hobbs said in a statement announcing his victory. “This is not just about elections – it’s about advancing this state and facing the challenges of our generation.”
Lake tweeted after the call, “Arizonans know BS when they see it.”
The Associated Press is calling the governor’s race for Hobbs after the latest round of voting gave her a large enough lead that AP determined she would not relinquish it. The AP concluded that, although Lake had posted a larger margin in the Maricopa County vote update, he did not gain a large enough share to overtake Hobbs and come out of the rest of the vote.
Counting of votes has been going on for several days since Tuesday’s election, when officials continued to count the number of late-arriving votes.
A one-time Republican stronghold where Democrats made gains during the Trump era, Arizona is at the center of an effort by Trump and his allies to cast doubt on Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory with false claims of fraud. This year, many Trump-backed candidates failed in the general election in battleground states, despite his choice in the Nevada governor’s race, Republican Joe Lombardo.defeated a Democrat incumbent.
Before entering politics, Hobbs was a social worker who worked with homeless youth and executive with a large domestic violence shelter in the Phoenix area. He was elected to the state Legislature in 2010, serving one term in the House and three terms in the Senate, rising to minority leader.
Hobbs won a narrow victory in 2018 as secretary of state and thrust into the center of a political storm as Arizona became the center of an effort by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election he lost. He constantly appeared on cable news defending the integrity of the vote count.
The attention allowed him to raise millions of dollars and raise his profile. When he announced his campaign for governor, other prominent Democrats declined to run and Hobbs won.
She ran a cautious campaign, sticking mostly to scripted and choreographed public appearances. She refused to participate in the debate with Lake, contending that Lake would turn it into a spectacle by spouting conspiracy theories and making false accusations.
She bet instead that the voters will recoil against Lake, who picked up a verbal fight with reporters as the cameras rolled and struck a combative tone towards the Democrats and even the establishment Republicans who have long dominated the state government.
Pre-election polls showed the race tied, but Hobbs’ victory still came as a surprise to many Democrats whose fears would turn off voters. She exceeded expectations in Maricopa and Pima counties, the Phoenix metro area and Tucson where the overwhelming majority of Arizona voters live. He also spent considerable time in rural areas, seeking to minimize his losses in traditionally Republican-leaning areas.
Lake is well known in many countries after anchoring the evening news in Phoenix for more than two decades. She ran as a fierce critic of the mainstream media, which she said was unfair to Republicans. He earned Trump’s admiration for his firm commitment to questioning the outcome of the 2020 election, a stance he never wavered even after winning the GOP primary.
He baselessly accused election officials of slowing the vote count this year and prioritizing Democratic ballots when he fired Hobbs days after the election.
Lake has cited problems with the printer about a third of Maricopa County’s vote center led tabulators on the site rejected some ballots. Election officials told voters to place their ballots in separate boxes to be counted later, but Republican leaders told their supporters to ignore those orders and lines in some places were reserved.
The problem affected about 7% of the ballots cast in person on Election Day and about 1% of the total cast in the county.
Sheriff Maricopa County Paul Penzone said increased security around the election center Monday in anticipation that the race will be called and emotions can run hot, although he said there is no specific threat. Demonstrators have gathered outside the building for several days but remain peaceful, he said.
“I think we’re getting close to the finals so I want to make sure we’re ready,” Penzone told reporters at a press conference hours before the race.
The sheriff’s office was caught off guard two years ago when armed and angry protesters descended on the election building. in downtown Phoenix after Fox News and the AP called Arizona for Bidenmarking the first time a Democrat won the state in more than two decades.
Learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections. And follow AP’s election coverage of the 2022 election at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.