Katie Hobbs Projected Winner: Katie Hobbs, a former social worker and Democratic chair of the 2020 Arizona election, has won the race for Arizona governor, defeating Republican Kari Lake, who had been widely predicted to win. Lake, an outspoken election denier, was labeled a threat to democracy by Hobbs, who ran as a moderate alternative to the extreme candidate. Hobbs pledged to defend abortion rights in Arizona after Roe v. Wade was overturned and sought to appeal to Arizona’s independent and moderate Republican voters, as well as some prominent conservatives who were unhappy with Trump’s direction.
Hobbs’ victory is seen as a blow to election denialism in her home state, which fostered unproven theories surrounding Trump‘s loss. Lake campaigned alongside other Republican nominees who denied the 2020 election results, such as far-right secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, who sought to ban voting machines throughout Arizona. If Lake had won, she was prepared to call a special legislative session at the state Capitol to push through changes to Arizona’s voting systems.
Lake’s performance didn’t match expectations, particularly among independent voters, and Republican frustration mounted. She attacked the late Republican senator John McCain, implying that Hobbs (Katie Hobbs Projected Winner) was part of the McCain machine, and brought Stephen K. Bannon onstage with her to promote his far-right radio show “War Room.”
Hobbs’ victory means Democrats have gained a net of two governorships across America, with gains in Arizona, Maryland, and Massachusetts offset by GOP gains in Nevada. Republican sheriff Joe Lombardo ousted Gov. Steve Sisolak amid criticism of his handling of crime, the coronavirus pandemic, and the economy. Despite high GOP hopes for blue states like New York or Oregon, Democratic incumbents held on in other places like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Kansas that were considered close races going into Election Day.