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Katie Hobbs wins Arizona governor’s race over Kari Lake

Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake
Katie Hobbs (left) and Kari Lake.

Arizona Democrat Katie Hobbs was elected governor in a hotly contested race against election-denying Republican Kari Lake, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, according to a race call by the Associated Press on Monday night.

The victory is a relief to Arizona Democrats, who spent much of the campaign wringing their hands over whether Hobbs — the quiet, unpolished secretary of state in Arizona — could defeat the made-for-TV Lake, who spent 22 years at a local Fox affiliate, much of it as a news anchor.

Most polls ahead of the elections showed Lake with a slight lead in the race. Lake showed a knack for garnering headlines while antagonizing reporters in her first-ever campaign. She ran on an unabashedly pro-Trump agenda – promising to declare an invasion along the southern border and voicing support for the state’s pre-statehood abortion ban — alongside a slate of Trump-endorsed candidates who won their primaries in the swing state of Arizona.

Following the primary, Lake even boasted of driving “a stake in the heart of the McCain machine,” an unfriendly nod to Arizona’s conservative establishment that’s been overrun by allies of Trump in Arizona.

For her part, Hobbs ran a far more subdued, traditional campaign, in a race she often described as a choice between “sanity and chaos.”

Hobbs made national headlines, and faced withering criticism, for her refusal to debate Lake. Hobbs focused on messaging that would cross party lines and appeal to Arizona’s influential independent voters, and even some Republicans who’ve grown tired of Trump.

In 2020, Biden became just the second Democratic presidential candidate to win in Arizona since 1948.

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Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.