ARIZONA, USA — Arizona's Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has been elected as the state's next governor, according to a race call Monday night by the Associated Press.
Hobbs, a defender of the state's 2020 presidential election results from attacks by Donald Trump's supporters, defeated Republican Kari Lake, a former TV news anchor and one of Trump's staunchest allies.
Hobbs will be Arizona's fifth female governor and the first Democrat to hold the office in 13 years.
During the campaign, Lake refused to say whether she would concede if she lost.
One hour after the race was called for Hobbs, Lake posted this tweet: "Arizonans know BS when they see it."
The decisive blow to Lake's fortunes came in the vote totals reported Monday night by Maricopa County, the state's largest county. Maricopa is home to more than six in every ten votes cast in the state.
Hobbs led by about 30,000 votes before the ballot drop. Lake won about 56 percent of the ballots reported Monday, narrowing Hobbs' lead to about 20,000 votes.
With an estimated 48,000 ballots left to count statewide, Lake would have to win 70 percent to tie Hobbs.
There remains a possibility that the final results will trigger an automatic recount under a new Arizona law. The threshold for a recount is a victory margin of about 13,000 votes or less.
Lawyers for the Republican National Committee have been laying the groundwork for a lawsuit challenging the election results. That lawsuit would focus on the alleged disenfranchisement of Republican voters due to printer breakdowns at Maricopa County vote centers on Election Day.
The Trump-endorsed Republican statewide ticket was loaded with four candidates who promoted the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Lake now becomes the third of those four candidates to go down to defeat to a Democrat.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly has won re-election against Blake Masters, a protege of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel. Former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes will succeed Hobbs as secretary of state, Arizona's chief elections officer. His opponent, Mark Finchem, traffics in the most extreme election denialism.
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