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PHOENIX – After days of ballots being counted, Arizona Democrat Katie Hobbs has been elected governor in a hotly contested race against reelection-denying Republican Cary Lake, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, according to an Associated Press race tally.
The victory is a relief for Arizona Democrats, who spent much of the campaign wringing their hands over whether Hobbs — Arizona’s current secretary of state — could defeat the made-for-TV Lake, who spent 22 years at a local Fox affiliate, much of it as news anchor.
Most polls before the election showed Lake with a slight lead in the race. Lake showed a knack for garnering news headlines while antagonizing reporters in his first campaign. She ran on an unabashedly pro-Trump platform — pledging to announce a crackdown on the southern border and voicing support for an abortion ban in the state before statehood — alongside a slate of Trump-backed candidates who won their primaries in the swing state of Arizona.
After the primary, Lake even boasted that he had placed a “bet in the heart of the McCain machine,” an unfriendly nod to the conservative Arizona establishment that had been taken over by Trump allies in Arizona.
For her part, Hobbs ran a much more subdued, traditional campaign, in a race she often described as a choice between “sanity and chaos”.
Hobbs made national headlines and faced heavy criticism for her refusal to debate Lake. Hobbs focused on messages that would cut across party lines and appeal to influential independent voters in Arizona and even some Trump-weary Republicans. In 2020, Biden became only the second Democratic presidential candidate to win in Arizona since 1948.
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