(The Center Square) – After a prolonged ballot counting process, Democrat Katie Hobbs appears to have withstood a late push by Republican Kari Lake in their face-off for governor.
Maricopa County released an additional 72,000 votes Monday night, 57% of those going to Lake. With Hobbs leading by more than 48,000 before that update and at most 15,000 more ballots in Maricopa County, news outlets and election watchers estimated that the remaining votes would not be enough for Lake to close that gap.
Lake, a former Fox 10 anchor, ran an aggressive campaign focused on border and election security, often citing controversy over the much-scrutinized Maricopa County’s 2020 general election results. She won a close primary against Karrin Taylor Robson, a conservative who was the party establishment favorite. Taylor Robson pulled Gov. Doug Ducey and former Vice President Mike Pence to rally support that ultimately lost out to the charismatic television personality anchored by the blessing of former President Donald Trump.
Some theorize that Lake’s fiery language about establishment Republicans alienated many that would have otherwise voted for the GOP contender in the governor’s race.
Hobbs, the current secretary of state, posed the race as “sanity vs. chaos,” referring to Lake’s discounting of past elections and rowdy primary debates. After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Hobbs made reproductive rights a focal point of her campaign. She painted Lake as an “abortion extremist” that supported a virtual ban on the procedure in Arizona, a position that didn’t poll well with independent voters in the months leading up to Tuesday.
Hobbs’ weak spot in the final stretch was her repeated refusal to share a debate stage with Lake. Hobbs said she didn’t want to participate in what she felt would devolve into a shouting match. Her decision was panned by not just Lake and other GOP figures but by Democrats and cable news personalities who said it projected an unwillingness to take on what should be a minimum responsibility of the state’s top executive.