Katie Hobbs is the governor-elect of Arizona after winning a close race against Kari Lake, a former television news broadcaster who was widely considered to be a win for the Trump side of the Republican Party and a possible running mate for Trump in 2024.
The loss of Lake means Arizona’s governorship has gone from the Republicans to the Democrats for the first time since Gov. Janet Napolitano served from 2003-2009. Current Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, has reached the end of his second term, which ends Jan. 1, 2023.
Hobbs is a technocrat, former legislator, and serves as the current secretary of state. She is a Democrat who was a social worker before going into politics, and whose style is in stark contrast to Lake, the firebrand and electrifying communicator who was unafraid to take the biased media on toe to toe.
Hobbs, in her role as secretary of state, oversees elections, and she has been widely criticized for not stepping down, but maintaining a clear conflict of interest. Hobbs has spent the past two years fighting claims that the 2020 election was stolen in Arizona. She also refused to debate Lake, who called her a “chicken” and a “coward.” Hobbs said she did not want to dignify an election denier.
The loss for Lake was not unexpected inside her campaign, as her team had gathered over the weekend in Scottsdale to prepare the fiery candidate for the likelihood that Hobbs would squeak by her. Hobbs won 50.4% to 49.6%, with about a 20,000 vote advantage out of the 2,510,181 million votes cast in the race.
Like Sarah Palin in Alaska, Kari Lake enjoyed the support and endorsement of Trump. Unlike Palin, Lake has not run for office before, and in her first run has lost by only a tiny fraction of votes. Like Palin, Lake has a broadcast media background, is good on camera, and pushed back against the news media and the establishment Republicans. The two both had the support of Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser, and other right-side luminaries.
Unlike Palin, who was the running mate for John McCain in 2008 for president, Lake attacked McCain earlier this year, ordering anyone who supported McCain to leave her rally.