Katie Hobbs’ lead shrinks over Kari Lake in narrow Arizona governor race

Hobbs' lead over Republican Kari Lake now stands at 26,011 votes, with an estimated 92% of votes have been counted.
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 12:03 AM MST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2022 at 7:02 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Despite no winner being called in the Arizona governor race after six days of ballot counting, Democrat Katie Hobbs saw her lead decrease on Monday following the results of the last large ballot drop from Maricopa County. As of 6:40 p.m., her lead over Republican Kari Lake now stands at 20,481 votes, a drop from Sunday night after Lake was able to narrow the gap a little. Hobbs now has 1,265,331 votes compared to Lake’s 1,244,850.

While the latest batch of ballot results favored Lake in Maricopa County, she needed a higher percentage of the votes. As of Sunday evening, Lake needed 65% of the remaining ballots to surpass Hobbs. On Monday, she recorded 56.83%, unable to take the lead. With the remaining votes left, Lake would need nearly 70%.

Hobbs’ campaign issued a statement on Sunday night, thanking supporters and calling Hobbs “the unequivocal favorite to become the next Governor of Arizona.” Lake’s campaign didn’t respond to the statement on Sunday. However, on Monday evening, Lake tweeted to her supporters urging them to check the status of their ballots.

Hobbs tweeted a video around 8:30 Saturday night about the election process so far. She thanked the election workers and ballot counters for all their hard work. Hobbs was also optimistic about her chances of winning the race. “We are still waiting on final results but spirits on Team Hobbs are high and we’re going to stay the course, be patient, and let our local election officials do their jobs,” she said in the video. As for Lake, she didn’t speak Saturday or tweet, but her “war room” account said, “our confidence hasn’t wavered & we haven’t moved an inch since election day.” The account said Lake will be the next governor.

Election Night

Lake was optimistic on election night when she addressed supporters at the GOP Headquarters in Scottsdale. “We are going to win this,” Lake confidently said. She pointed to when she was down double digits early on in the August primary to Karrin Taylor Robson and eventually won. “If we have to, we’ll take this fight through, we will, even if it takes hours or days,” Lake said.

Republican candidate Kari Lake says her first action as governor will be to “restore honesty to Arizona elections.”

Hobbs was equally optimistic with her supporters in downtown Phoenix. “We have seen the first results come in and we’re feeling good about what we’re seeing and that’s because of all of the hard work that everyone in this room has put in. You all made calls, you knocked on doors, you talked to your friends, your family, your neighbors about what’s at stake at this election and most importantly you all got out and voted,” she said. At the time, Hobbs was carrying a sizable lead with the bulk of early and mail-in votes, which tend to lean Democrat, included in the earlier results but the race has since tightened.

Lake brought up the tabulation machine problems that affected 60 of 223 voting centers in Maricopa County. “We have incompetent people running the show,” she said. “The system we have now does not work,” Lake added Arizonans should know who wins on election night. As for Hobbs, she encouraged people to wait for the results. “We need to be patient and wait for every vote to be counted because every single vote matters,” she said.

In the days leading up to election night, the Hobbs campaign dealt with a man breaking into the Phoenix office, stealing thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Police later said that the break-in didn’t appear politically motivated. In addition, Lake also had suspicious mail sent to her Phoenix campaign office. No one was injured.

After the first round of election results, Democratic candidate for governor Katie Hobbs gives a speech to her supporters in downtown Phoenix.

Hobbs built years of political exposure working in the state Legislature starting in 2010 before deciding to run for Arizona secretary of state. She won a narrow 20,000-vote victory against Republican businessman Steve Gaynor in 2018.

She landed in a tough spot after President Trump and some of his supporters attempted to delegitimize the results of the 2020 Presidential Election, leading to an expensive months-long audit in Maricopa County that Republicans instituted in the Arizona Senate. Hobbs, joining with Senate Democrats, detailed some concerns about the audit and, in June 2021, issued a report saying that the review of ballots was “flawed” from the start.

While on the campaign, Lake and other Trump-endorsed candidates highlighted election security and integrity as one of her top issues, particularly an urge to overhaul election rules. During a one-on-one interview with radio host Mike Broomhead, she suggested that this election wouldn’t be fair and encouraged voters to turn on Election Day anyway. That sentiment mirror similar comments made during the primary over the summer.

“When you have stolen, corrupt elections, you have serious consequences, even deadly consequences,” Lake said in June while competing in the GOP primary. “And unfortunately, we had a stolen election, and we actually have an illegitimate president sitting in the White House.”

Arizona’s Family previously reported that Lake, in a CNN interview last month, refused to commit to accepting the results of her election.

Another major issue on the mind for Lake supporters: a statewide abortion ban that has remained in legal limbo since Roe V. Wade, the 1973 federal ruling that granted the woman a constitutional right to obtain the procedure, was overturned.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed a 15-week abortion ban passed earlier this year by the state Legislature. Ducey has signed every piece of anti-abortion legislation that has reached his desk since he took office in 2015. Ducey previously endorsed Lake’s then-opponent Robson in the August primary but said as part of the Republican Governors Association, he would support Lake’s candidacy after she won the GOP nomination.

Lake, who is pro-life, didn’t say in a recent one-on-one interview whether she supported a near-total ban written in 1901 or the 15-week ban.

Arizona’s Family/HighGround poll

The Associated Press contributed to this report.