Democrat Katie Hobbs will win the Arizona gubernatorial race, CNN Project, defeating one of the most prominent defenders of former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
Republican Cary Lake, who has called the 2020 election rigged, has repeatedly said she will not prove Joe Biden wins in Arizona in 2020. Hobbs, as Arizona’s secretary of state, rejected Republican lies about the election.
Lake’s defeat follows the defeats of two other high-profile election deniers in the state — Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters and secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem.
“Democracy is worth the wait,” Hobbs tweeted after Monday night’s game. “Thank you, Arizona. I am honored and proud to be your next governor.”
Instead of acknowledging Hobbs’ victory, Laker tweeted: “Arizonas know it when they see BS.”
The Republican candidate has already begun to cast doubt on the 2022 election result. When appearing on Fox News Monday before the race, Lake groundlessly called the election “botched.”
“I don’t believe people in Arizona are going to vote for her and she’s going to win. But if that’s what happens at the end of the day, how can you justify such a botched election?” Lake said.
In an appearance Thursday on right-wing activist Charlie Kirk’s talk show, she said: “I hate that they’re slow, dragging their feet, putting off the inevitable. They don’t want to tell the truth, and that’s where we win.”
There is no evidence that election officials delayed the reporting of results. During a news conference Thursday, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates pointed to Lake’s comments. “It’s distasteful that Cary Lake says these guys behind me are rolling slowly when they’re working 14 to 18 hours,” said Republican Gates, pointing to election workers involved in counting the votes behind him Say through the glass window.
Lake went on to ask questions about vote counting and the role Hobbs ultimately played in confirming votes hours before Hobbs was expected to run. “Election officials are not supposed to be impartial,” Lake wrote on Twitter, referring to Hobbs’ office. “Election people have made it their mission to beat America First Republicans. Incredible.”
Arizona Assistant Secretary of State Ellie Burns dismissed Lake’s suggestion that Hobbs should shy away from overseeing the election. In an interview with CNN on Monday night, she noted that Arizona’s election was “highly fragmented” and that “counties manage the election and count the votes.”
When pressed by CNN’s John King about the Arizona secretary of state’s role in proving the election, Burns said the process has worked the same way for years: All 15 counties will report to the secretary of state’s office. Report their results, then the secretary’s office. The office aggregates these results and puts together a statewide canvas. “The secretary does sign” by then, but the governor, attorney general and chief justice of the state Supreme Court will also sign off on those final results, Bones said.
Lake, a former news anchor on the Fox 10 in Phoenix, quickly rose to become one of the most prominent Republicans in the 2022 cycle as she and Hobbs compete for the limited-term Republican governor. Doug Ducey. The outgoing governor had backed Lake’s main opponent, but then backed Lake in the general election.
Hobbs, a former social worker who worked with victims of domestic violence before becoming a state legislator, ran a more low-key and low-key campaign that limited her access to reporters and held meetings with supporters. Small, intimate events. She made democracy and abortion rights her central focus, painting Lake as an “extreme” and “dangerous” figure who could endanger the sanctity of the 2024 presidential election by refusing to confirm the results.
She was helped in the latter effort by the Republican House of Representatives. Liz Cheney, whose political action committee is putting $500,000 in support of an ad urging Arizona voters to reject Lake and Finchem. Lake then tweeted a sarcastic letter thanking Cheney for her “in-kind contribution” – claiming the ad actually helped her campaign. On Monday night, when Hobbs started the game, Cheney responded to Laker’s Oct. 28 tweet with a simple retort: ”You’re welcome.”
Barrett Marson, an Arizona Republican adviser who worked for Masters during the Senate primary, spoke about the wisdom of following Trump on Monday night. “It’s over. The only thing Cary Lake should do now is give in gracefully. This election has taught us one thing: Following Trump off a cliff is not going to win the election.”
Lake is strictly following Trump’s playbook in more than just the 2020 election. She pledged to declare an “invasion” at the border — what she called an effort to amass greater powers for the governor’s office to address the immigration crisis — and she called for the arrest of the two Ph.D.s. Anthony Fauci and her Democratic opponent.
Before announcing her bid, Lake quit her job as an anchor in 2021 after becoming a household name in Phoenix — saying she didn’t like the direction of journalism. In one of her campaign videos, she said she was using a sledgehammer for “leftist lies and propaganda” as she destroyed the TV with a tool in her stiletto boots.
She strongly condemned Democratic leaders’ handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, dismissing her main opponents – slamming restrictions such as wearing masks as unnecessary and harmful to children. By the end of the campaign, she had welcomed comparisons to Trump — saying at one event she was delighted when an admirer called her “Trump in a skirt.”
Lake portrayed Hobbes as a coward after he refused to debate with her opponent this fall. Hobbs’ campaign argued that the debate with Lake “only resulted in constant distractions, pointless distractions and childish verbal abuse.”
In an interview with CNN, Hobbs noted that Lake had repeatedly called for her arrest, and said her comments led to “violent threats and harassment against me.” Lake, in turn, portrayed her opponent’s response as weak, arguing that if Hobbs didn’t agree to debate her, “she couldn’t fight the cartel.”
This story has been updated with more developments.