Democrat Hobbs leads Republican Lake for Arizona governor

Nov 9, 2022, 2:50 AM | Updated: 4:27 am
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX (AP) — Democrat Katie Hobbs led Republican Kari Lake in the race for Arizona governor, but the battle for control of the crucial battleground state was too early to call.

Lake, a former television news anchor, says she would not have certified the state’s 2020 election results. Her television-ready demeanor, confrontations with journalists and combative message for Democrats made the first-time candidate a rising star on the right whose future in national politics is already being debated.

Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, rose to prominence defending the integrity of President Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, where he eked out the smallest margin of any state he won two years ago.

The results will be a window into the pulse of the electorate in Arizona, a longtime Republican stronghold that turned toward Democrats during the Trump era. They’ll provide insight into whether Biden’s success here in 2020 was a onetime event or the onset of a long-term shift away from the GOP.

Republicans nominated for statewide offices a slate of Trump-endorsed candidates who have promoted falsehoods about the 2020 election as a centerpiece of their campaigns. All trailed their Democratic rivals in initial election returns, which reflected mail ballots received ahead of the election. Those margins were expected to diminish as more ballots were counted.

Hobbs and other Democrats told supporters they were encouraged by the early returns but warned a long slog of counting was ahead.

“I have every confidence that the counties administering this election conducted a free and fair election, and their results will be accurate,” Hobbs told supporters gathered in Phoenix. “But they will take time, so prepare for a long evening and a few more days of counting.”

Mail ballots returned Tuesday or shortly before were not yet reported and will be counted in the coming days.

With razor-thin margins between the parties, it often takes days to know the results of key races in Arizona, and it’s not uncommon for the candidate leading on election night to end up losing when all votes are counted.

Trouble with vote-tabulation machines at about 25% of polling places in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous, generated criticism on social media, but officials said every vote would be counted.

The election comes as Biden struggles from lagging approval and Trump strongly hints that he will run again in 2024.

With such high stakes, Arizona has been central to efforts by Trump and his allies to cast doubt on Biden’s victory with false claims of fraud. Trump-endorsed candidates who deny the legitimacy of Biden’s victory won GOP primaries up and down the ballot and could take control of offices with a central role in elections.

Nine in 10 voters say the future of democracy in the U.S. is a factor in their voting decisions, according to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of more than 3,200 voters in Arizona. They were evenly split between the two candidates for governor. Roughly 4 in 10 say it is the single most important factor.

A majority — roughly 7 in 10 voters — say they are confident that votes will be counted accurately in this year’s election. Among these voters, about 6 in 10 backed Hobbs. Among the roughly one-quarter who said they were not confident that votes would be counted accurately, about 8 in 10 backed Lake.

Lake predicted she will make up the gap and overtake Hobbs, reminding her supporters that she was down in early returns from the GOP primary before overtaking her establishment-backed rival as more ballots were counted.

“God did not put us in this fight because it was going to be easy,” Lake told supporters at a GOP celebration in Scottsdale. “Not one thing that we’ve had to go through has been easy.”

She condemned the printer mishap in Maricopa County, calling it “another stark reminder that we have incompetent people running the show in Arizona” and pledging that her “first line of action is to restore honesty to Arizona elections.”

Hobbs has cast the race for governor as a contest between sanity and chaos, branding Lake as “seriously dangerous” and drawing attention to the Republican’s opposition to abortion rights.

Hobbs, a social worker before turning to politics, was weighed down by her decision not to debate Lake. She ran a cautious campaign, sticking largely to scripted and choreographed public appearances.

Lake brought people dressed as chickens — and sometimes live hens — to campaign events to make the case that Hobbs was scared to confront her. She also highlighted a successful discrimination lawsuit brought by a Black woman who was fired as a policy adviser to state Senate Democrats while Hobbs was the top Senate Democrat.

Lake is well known in much of the state 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 is unfair to Republicans.

Polished in front of the camera and comfortable in front of a crowd, Lake built an enthusiastic following and drew international media attention.

She was endorsed by Trump, who admired her ability — only slightly exaggerated — to respond to any question with a message about fixing elections. Lake has repeatedly refused to say that she would accept the results of the election if she loses.

Nearly half of Arizona voters say the economy is the most important issue facing the country, according to AP VoteCast. And nearly all voters said inflation was a factor in their votes, with about half saying it was the single most important factor.

For about two-thirds of Arizona voters, the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the ruling that recognized a constitutional right to abortion, was an important factor. Those voters overwhelmingly favored Hobbs over Lake.

Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no credible evidence the election was tainted. The former president’s allegations of fraud were also roundly rejected by courts.

___

Learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections. And follow the AP’s election coverage of the 2022 elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.

___

Associated Press writer Terry Tang contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Voters wait in line outside a polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
            
              Voters wait in line outside a polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
            Guadalupe residents sit outside a polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Guadalupe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs appears on the set of "Arizona Horizon" prior to a televised interview with host Ted Simons in Phoenix, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. Hobbs will face Republican Kari Lake for Arizona governor in the November general elections. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs speaks on the set of "Arizona Horizon" prior to a televised interview with host Ted Simons in Phoenix, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. Hobbs will face Republican Kari Lake for Arizona governor in the November general elections. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs speaks on the set of "Arizona Horizon" prior to a televised interview with host Ted Simons in Phoenix, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. Hobbs will face Republican Kari Lake for Arizona governor in the November general elections. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs sits on the set of "Arizona Horizon" prior to a televised interview with host Ted Simons in Phoenix, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. Hobbs will face Republican Kari Lake for Arizona governor in the November general elections. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs sits on the set of "Arizona Horizon" prior to a televised interview with host Ted Simons in Phoenix, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. Hobbs will face Republican Kari Lake for Arizona governor in the November general elections. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

AP

FILE - A worker rides a rail car at a BNSF rail crossing in Saginaw, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 20...
Associated Press

Rail workers say deal won’t resolve quality-of-life concerns

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — When BNSF railroad conductor Justin Schaaf needed to take time off from work this summer, he had to make a choice: go to the dentist to get a cavity in his molar filled or attend a party for his son’s 7th birthday. He chose his son. “Ultimately I decided to take […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Web designer Lorie Smith is shown in her office on Nov. 7, 2022, in the southwest part of Li...
Associated Press

Both sides see high stakes in gay rights Supreme Court case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is being warned about the potentially dire consequences of a case next week involving a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for same-sex couples. Rule for the designer and the justices will expose not only same-sex couples but also Black people, immigrants, Jews, Muslims and others […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: December 3, gas disaster in Bhopal

Today in History Today is Saturday, Dec. 3, the 337th day of 2022. There are 28 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 3, 1984, thousands of people died after a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas escaped from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India. On […]
24 hours ago
FILE - John Duarte, a Republican candidate in California's 13th Congressional District, arrives at ...
Associated Press

GOP’s Duarte takes California Central Valley US House seat

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Republican John Duarte defeated Democrat Adam Gray on Friday in a new California U.S. House district in the Central Valley farm belt that produced the closest congressional contest in the state this year. With virtually all of the ballots counted, Duarte has just over 50% of the vote. Gray conceded in […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Family seeks answers after police kill man on his own porch

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The family of an Austin, Texas, man is seeking answers after he was fatally shot by police last month on his front porch following a late-night emergency call by a neighbor. Video and audio released Thursday show Austin police officers arrived Nov. 15, yelled “drop your gun,” then fired at Rajan […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Flowers and candles are placed around crosses on May 28, 2022, at a memorial outside Robb El...
Associated Press

Uvalde shooting victims seek $27B, class action in lawsuit

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Victims of the Uvalde school shooting that left 21 people dead have filed a lawsuit against local and state police, the city and other school and law enforcement officials seeking $27 billion due to delays in confronting the attacker, court documents show. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Democrat Hobbs leads Republican Lake for Arizona governor