Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State, has defeated Republican Kari Lake in the battleground’s closely watched gubernatorial race, scoring the latest victory over a Trump-backed candidate who openly embraced the former president’s lies about the 2020 election.
“Democracy is worth the wait,” Hobbs tweeted after the Associated Press called the race in her favor late Monday following nearly a week of vote counting. “Thank you, Arizona. I am so honored and so proud to be your next governor.”
In the run-up to the gubernatorial contest, Lake—a former television anchor—refused to say whether she would accept defeat and repeatedly cast doubt on the state’s election process, baselessly claiming it is riddled with fraud. Last month, the Republican candidate told CNN, “I’m going to win the election and I will accept that result.”
Given her past remarks, the question of whether Lake will ultimately admit her loss was front and center Monday night as progressives celebrated the defeat of yet another prominent election denier.
“One of the most dangerous election deniers and conspiracy theorists in the country—Kari Lake—defeated,” wrote MSNBC‘s Mehdi Hasan. “Now, will she concede?”
The Washington Post reported Monday that “within Lake’s war room, where the mood shifted in the past week from giddy anticipation to grim resignation, discussions have centered on how Lake should speak about a loss.”
“Among those who have made appearances are some of the biggest names in Trump’s orbit, including Stephen K. Bannon and Christina Bobb, a former One America News anchor who aided a review of 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County after the 2020 election. Trump himself called in on Sunday,” the Post continued. “Discussions have ranged from how Lake could acknowledge a loss to whether she should adopt Trump’s playbook and claim the election was stolen from her. Some want her message to center on problems with printers on Election Day that affected 30 percent of polling sites.”
In a tweet late Monday as right-wing commentators urged her not to concede, Lake signaled that she intends to contest the outcome, writing, “Arizonans know BS when they see it.”
Arizona became a hotbed of election denial in 2020 after President Joe Biden narrowly carried the state, which was previously a Republican stronghold. As Arizona’s top election official, Hobbs was a frequent target of right-wing demonstrations and threats of violence.
But the 2022 midterms have seen Arizona voters reject candidates who vocally peddled lies about the 2020 results. In addition to Lake’s defeat, GOP secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem—who was at the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 insurrection—lost to Democrat Adrian Fontes and Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Blake Masters fell to incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).
“In my view, the five most aggressively dishonest 2020 election deniers who were on the ballot for key state offices were Arizona’s Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, Pennsylvania’s Doug Mastriano, Nevada’s Jim Marchant, and Michigan’s Kristina Karamo,” reporter Daniel Dale wrote late Monday. “All of them have been defeated.”
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Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams. Follow him on Twitter: @johnsonjakep.