Democrat Katie Hobbs will be the next governor of Arizona, defeating Trump-backed Kari Lake, a rising MAGA star and arguably the most prominent and formidable election denier to run in this year’s midterms. Hobbs was able to hold on to a super-slim lead — currently just over 20,000 votes, at 50.4 percent, with less than 60,000 votes still outstanding.
It’s not clear if Lake, who has repeatedly attacked election officials and promoted doubts about the integrity of the count, will ever concede. Soon after the calls for Hobbs were made Monday night, Lake tweeted, “Arizonans know BS when they see it.”
According to the Washington Post, aides and allies had been working to prepare Lake for the bad news and advised her “to take a measured approach and not ‘storm the castle,’ as one person present for the discussions described the sentiments.”
Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, had faced criticism for running a less flashy and less aggressive campaign than her GOP rival. Lake, a charismatic former local-news anchor, drew national attention during the campaign, particularly for her loud and proud denial of Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat in both Arizona and the nation. The former president enthusiastically backed Lake’s candidacy in the GOP primary and campaigned with her in Arizona. Other MAGA-world figures, including Steve Bannon, worked to boost the Trump loyalist.
Lake vowed to make dramatic changes to voting in the swing state if elected and could have played a critical role in the certification of the 2024 presidential-election results after campaigning on how she would not have certified the results in 2020. She also called into question the integrity of the 2022 vote in Arizona, sowing fears about mail-in ballots and making baseless allegations against county election officials, including on and since Election Day.
Hobbs, as secretary of state, is Arizona’s top election official. In her campaign, she courted the state’s sizable bloc of independent voters, emphasized her support for Roe v. Wade, and earned the backing of some prominent anti-Trump conservatives, including family members of the late Arizona senator John McCain — whom Lake attacked on the campaign trail — as well as soon-to-be former GOP congresswoman Liz Cheney, who was effectively banished from the MAGA-dominated Republican Party after she voted to impeach Trump over his role in the Capitol riot.
In the end, as in numerous other midterm races across the country last week, voters in Arizona ultimately favored the Democrat, albeit narrowly. Hobbs will now replace the state’s outgoing governor, Republican Doug Ducey, marking Democrats’ third midterm pickup in gubernatorial races, though they have only netted two since they lost the governorship in Nevada.
Not every call in Arizona went Democrats’ way Monday night:
This post has been updated.