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Katie Hobbs defeats election denier Kari Lake in Arizona governor’s race

The closely fought governor's race between Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs was one of the most significant in the general election because Arizona is a battleground state and is expected to play a pivotal role in the 2024 U.S. presidential election.

Katie Hobbs attends a campaign rally in Phoenix
Katie Hobbs, the Secretary of State of Arizona and Democratic candidate for governor, attends a campaign rally in Phoenix on Nov. 4, 2022, ahead of the midterm elections. On Monday, Nov. 14, the race was called and Hobbs was declared the winner over Kari Lake.
Jim Urquhart / Reuters
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Kari Lake, one of the most high-profile Republican candidates in the midterm elections to embrace former President Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud in 2020, lost her bid to become the next governor of Arizona, Edison Research projected on Monday.

The closely fought governor's race between Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs was one of the most significant in the general election because Arizona is a battleground state and is expected to play a pivotal role in the 2024 U.S. presidential election.

Lake had vowed to ban the state's mail-in voting, which conspiracy theorists falsely claim is vulnerable to fraud, fueling distrust among voters about the safety of a voting method used by hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Her defeat capped a triumphant week for Democrats, who defied Republicans' hopes for a "red wave" in the midterm elections.

Democrats retained their control of the U.S. Senate after keeping seats in the swing states of Arizona and Nevada, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote. The party could win outright majority control if Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock beats Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a Georgia runoff on Dec. 6, bolstering Democratic sway over committees, bills and judicial picks.

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The Democratic victories in a swath of gubernatorial, congressional and statehouse elections defied expectations that voters would punish them for record inflation, including high gas and food prices. Instead, Democrats were able to curb their losses, in part by mobilizing voters angry over the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.

Still, Republicans continued to edge toward control of the House of Representatives. As of Monday, Republicans had won 212 seats and the Democrats 206, with 218 needed for a majority. Control of the House would allow Republicans to stymie President Joe Biden's legislative agenda.

It could take several days before the outcome of enough House races is known to determine which party will control the 435-seat chamber.

Lake, a former television news anchor, was one of a string of Trump-aligned Republican candidates who lost battleground state races. Voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin also rejected election deniers in races for governor and other statewide election posts.

Arizona Republican candidates campaign in Phoenix
Republican candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake speaks during a campaign stop Nov. 7, 2022, in Phoenix.
Brian Snyder / Reuters

Biden narrowly beat Trump in Arizona in the 2020 election. Hobbs, Arizona's current secretary of state, rose to national prominence when she defended the state's election results against Trump's claims of voter fraud.

Her win on Monday is a Democratic pickup of a governorship currently held by Republican Doug Ducey.

Vote-counting in Arizona continued for nearly a week after the Nov. 8 election. Arizona requires voters' signatures on early ballots to be verified before they are processed. The counting was delayed this year because hundreds of thousands of early ballots were cast at drop boxes on Election Day, officials said.

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Lake and Trump had pointed to temporary Election Day problems with electronic vote-counting machines in Maricopa County as evidence that Republican votes were being suppressed.

A judge denied a request to extend polling place hours, saying Republicans had provided no evidence that voters were disenfranchised by the issue.

In a Sunday appearance on Fox News, Lake said the lengthy counting process was "trampling" voters' rights, and was further evidence of why election administration in Arizona needed to be reformed.

"We can't be the laughing stock of elections any more here in Arizona, and when I'm governor, I will not allow it," she said.

US House

Control of the U.S. House of Representatives hinged on Monday on several tight races that could secure a majority for Republicans following midterm elections that saw President Joe Biden's Democrats beat expectations and retain the Senate.

Republicans were closer to taking the House, having won 212 seats compared to Democrats' 206, with 218 needed for a majority. But the final outcome might not be known for days as officials continue counting ballots nearly a week after Americans went to the polls. There are still some 17 outstanding House races, with Republicans leading vote counts in a dozen of them.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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