It was a true Grand Canyon State nail biter but Katie Hobbs prevailed over former TV anchor and Donald Trump acolyte Kari Lake in the race to be Arizona’s next governor, NBC and CNN projected on Monday.
The tight race between the candidates has been too close to call since Tuesday’s midterms, but the latest results from the state showed that Republican Lake would be unable to overcome current Arizona Secretary of State Hobbs’ lead. As over 71,000 votes and other data came in from Maricopa County tonight, the Comcast-owned network made its call:
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 15, 2022
CNN called Hobbs the winner at 6:15 PM PT.
Lake’s defeat is a stunning result for a candidate who seemed poised to become the next star on the right. Just hours before polls closed on November 8, the almost always poised Lake told reporters at a press conference that she would be “your worst freaking nightmare for eight years, and we will reform the media as well. We are going to make you guys into journalists again.” Lake was endorsed by Donald Trump and vigorously embraced his election denialism.
On election night and ever since, Hobbs held a slight lead over Lake, surprising many pundits who had questioned the low-key Democrat’s strategy of declining to participate in a debate with her rival. Lake, meanwhile, has bashed Arizona election officials as slow and incompetent as the process took time. She also raised doubts about the results, but some have refuted election conspiracy claims.
Bill Gates, the Republican chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, pushed back against Lake’s claims and told reporters that her criticisms were “offensive.”
Lake’s strategy of questioning the results even landed her in the Saturday Night Live cold open last weekend, in which she was shown bashing the legitimacy of the state count when told she was behind but praising it when she was ahead. The skit also displayed ex-local newser Lake as a possible Fox News host if she lost the election – a fiction that sounds a lot like a fact waiting to happen.
A pick up for the party of Joe Biden, Hobbs will be the first Democratic governor of the increasingly blie state since Janet Napolitano, who served from 2003 to 2009. Former Veep Biden won Arizona in 2020 in a very tight race of his own against former Celebrity Apprentice host Trump – a fact that the ex-POTUS has clearly never been able to get over.
Lake is the latest election denier to lose her bid. On Friday, networks projected that Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) would defeat another Trump endorsee, Blake Masters, in the race for U.S. Senate in Arizona and win a full term for himself. With the former astronaut heading back to the upper chamber, and Nevada incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto declared the winner in her close race on November 12, the Democrats now have 50 seats in the Senate. Even with the Georgia run-off to be decided on December 6, now, with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the tie breaker, the Democrats retain control of the upper chamber after a midterm election many predicted would see President Joe Biden and the Dems drowned in a Red Wave that never showed up.
In Arizona alone, Hobbs’ win means a complete ticket defeat for Trump sponsored 2020 election deniers and Big Lie believers.
Control of the House of Representatives still remains unknown, but it looks like the Republicans are going to have a razor thin majority in the end.