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2022 Arizona governor's race: Katie Hobbs defeats Kari Lake, CBS News projects

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Hobbs defeats Lake to be Arizona governor
Democrat Katie Hobbs defeats Republican Kari Lake in race for Arizona governor 02:26

Katie Hobbs, Arizona's Democratic secretary of state, has defeated Kari Lake, a Trump-endorsed former TV anchor in the Arizona governor's race, CBS News projects. 

As of Monday night, Hobbs was leading Lake by around 20,400 votes, with 97% of the results in, a margin of 0.8 percentage points. 

On Sunday, Lake was still hopeful that the vote tallies coming in later that day would favor her — she told Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo on "Sunday Morning Futures" that her campaign believed that much of the outstanding vote was from "very heavy Republican areas" in Maricopa County.

The latest election results released Monday showed that out of roughly 71,000 ballots in Maricopa County, about 56% were votes for Lake, and 43% were for Hobbs. It was enough to shrink Hobbs' lead by about 6,000 votes, but not enough to overtake her.

Hobbs' campaign manager Nicole DeMont, released a statement Sunday projecting confidence: "With the latest tabulation results from Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties, Katie Hobbs is the unequivocal favorite to become the next Governor of Arizona. Katie has led since the first round of ballots were counted, and after tonight's results, it's clear that this won't change."

Katie Hobbs
Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

Lake promoted unfounded theories about the 2020 presidential election and has claimed it was stolen from former President Donald Trump. She has said she'll accept the midterm election results if the election is "fair, honest and transparent," but she hasn't committed to accepting the results regardless of outcome. 

Hobbs was a state legislator and social worker before she was elected to be the state's top election official in 2018, the same year that Republican Doug Ducey won the governor's race. As secretary of state in 2020, it was Hobbs who administered the election, and she remains the secretary of state for this election.

Arizona voted for Joe Biden for president in 2020, and it remains a battleground state. A six-month review of the 2020 election by a firm hired by GOP state Senate lawmakers concluded Mr. Biden won. 

Kabir Khanna and Henri Fitzmaurice contributed to this report.

 

The race

Arizona's race for governor is one of the most closely watched in the country, largely because of the impact it could have on the 2024 presidential election. 

Arizona gubernatorial race tightens 05:55

Lake, 53, still favors decertifying the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona, despite the fact that no credible evidence has been presented in Arizona to substantiate claims of widespread voter fraud. Besides the state's GOP Senate-led review, the Republican state attorney general, Mark Brnovich told CBS News' "60 Minutes" that his office investigated the full gamut of claims about the 2020 election, including dead people voting, injected votes in Pima county, and many more claims. And none of the investigations revealed widespread voter fraud in Arizona.

Hobbs, 52, campaigned on the importance of safe elections and warned that extremists and election deniers like Lake should not be in a position to undermine democratic processes. She highlighted Lake's support of Trump and claims that the 2020 election was rigged as threats to democracy. 

During the campaign, Hobbs refused to debate Lake, whom she has said is just trying to create a spectacle. But Lake is also charismatic and comfortable on stage. As the Washington Post's Ruby Cramer observed, Lake "does not say 'um.'" She noted that some like to call Lake "Trump in heels," but that might not give her enough credit — really, "she is Donald Trump with media training and polish."

In October, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney traveled to Phoenix to warn conservatives in Arizona against voting for Lake. 

"For almost 40 years now, I've been voting Republican," Cheney said during an event hosted by the McCain Institute at Arizona State University.  "I don't know if I have ever voted for a Democrat, but if I lived in Arizona now, I absolutely would for governor and for secretary of state."

Cheney continued, "If you care about democracy and you care about the survival of our republic, then you need to understand, we all have to understand, that we cannot give people power who have told us that they will not honor elections."

Lake also embraces Trump's issues, beyond the denial of the 2020 election. She has focused on security and immigration issues, which is part of the reason some voters are saying she's won their vote. She has said that she'll declare an invasion at the southern border and deport those who cross the border illegally. 

Lake has also focused on education and human rights issues. She has said that teachers should not be discussing LGBTQ rights with students and said she would prosecute doctors who perform gender confirmation surgeries. Lake has also criticized transgender athletes, saying men shouldn't be allowed to compete against women in sports. She has avoided saying whether she supports any exceptions to an abortion ban, and has spoken supportively of both Arizona's total abortion ban dating back to 1864 and a more recent 15-week ban. 

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