Kari Lake wins Arizona Republican nomination for governor, AP projects

Lake is projected to move on to face Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in the general election on Nov. 8.
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 7:14 PM MST|Updated: Aug. 5, 2022 at 3:57 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The unofficial voting results for the GOP gubernatorial race are in, and Kari Lake was declared the Republican nominee on Thursday night. The race was close between Lake and her main opponent Karrin Taylor Robson, but the former news anchor came out on top. The Associated Press declared Lake the winner after 70,000 ballots in Maricopa County were processed, putting Lake up nearly 20,000 votes over Robson. Lake is projected to move on to face Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in the general election on Nov. 8.

Tuesday’s Election Day tabulations showed Robson in an early lead against Lake, but Lake was able to surpass Robson overnight. Lake’s lead hasn’t let up since Wednesday morning. She took to Twitter on Thursday night after The AP called the race, with a simple tweet reading “‘Bout time.”

Lake released the statement after her projected win: “Though the results took longer than they should have, Arizonans who have been forgotten by the establishment just delivered a political earthquake. My opponent Katie Hobbs had one job in government, and that was to ensure an efficiently-processed election. She failed spectacularly, and yet just like every other failed establishment politician, now she wants a promotion. Arizona just sent a clear message: our state is done with failed politicians like Katie Hobbs.”

Hobbs had her scathing response in response to Lake’s projected win, calling Lake too dangerous for Arizona. “This isn’t about Democrats vs. Republicans. It’s about sanity vs. chaos,” said Hobbs in a tweet. “There’s so much at stake this fall. Arizona, let’s get this done and WIN in November!”

Lake’s projected victory Thursday is a blow to the GOP establishment, which lined up behind lawyer and businesswoman Robson. Lake said she would not have certified President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory and put false claims of election fraud at the center of her campaign. Former Vice President Mike Pence, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and others tried to push the GOP to move on from the Trump era of election conspiracies and lies.

Between Hobbs and Lake, one will replace Gov. Doug Ducey, who cannot run for re-election due to term limits. Hobbs won in overwhelming fashion against former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez, with 73% of votes versus Lopez’s 23% so far. Despite dropping out of the Democratic race back in April, Aaron Lieberman also grabbed 5% of the votes.

The Donald Trump-endorsed Lake has been vocal about her Second Amendment support and closing borders to combat drug trafficking. Last month, at a rally in Prescott Valley featuring an appearance from Trump, Lake spoke about sending troops to the border to stop drugs from entering Arizona. She also praised young adults backing the GOP.

Lake has also echoed Trump with claims that the 2020 election was stolen, accusations that have no evidence. At an event last week, Lake alleged that attempts to steal the primary election were underway but did not give specific evidence. Robson called the 2020 election “unfair” but stopped short of calling it fraudulent and pushed for the GOP to look toward the future.

A poll by HighGround in July saw the race tighten between the two Republicans in the last few months. In April, Lake held a large lead over Robson, with 30% of votes and Robson trailing at 9.5%. But thanks to a push from TV ads, Robson was able to bridge the gap, with Lake at 39% and Robson at 35.5%. However, the ads weren’t enough for Robson, as Lake came out on top.

Scott Neely and Paola Tulliani-Zen were the other GOP gubernatorial candidates but could not catch up to the two-woman race between Lake and Robson. Despite dropping out of the race and endorsing Robson, Matt Salmon also earned a small percentage of votes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.