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Left: Kari Lake. Right: Katie Hobbs
Arizona was at the center of the 2022 midterms. Right: Republican Kari Lake. Left: Democrat Katie Hobbs. Photo: Getty Images

Katie Hobbs triumphant in Arizona's battle for Governor

Lake, who built much of her political platform on denying the results of the 2020 elections, faced an elonged dead-heat race against her opponent.

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The battle for control of the U.S. Senate came to a close this week after twice-elected Senator Catherine Cortez Masto delivered a checkmate for Democrats in Nevada, giving the Biden administration a 50-50 majority in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote. 

In the coming days, however, all eyes turn to Arizona, where a battle brewed between Republican nominee Kari Lake and Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat.  The battle between Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake had the country at the edge of its seat. 

The wait ends to day as AP officially calls the race for Katie Hobbs, the state's current Secretary of State.

Lake, a former news anchor for Fox, became a steward for former Republican president Donald Trump after Biden snagged a crucial victory in Arizona, eventually lending him enough electoral votes to win the presidency in 2020.

In the months that followed, Lake built a campaign that consistently questioned the election results and frequently claimed the count was illegitimate, despite lacking proof to back her claims. 

Lake’s campaign strategy was a full-frontal offensive. The former anchor turned media critic focused much of her strategy on slamming Hobbs for her role as elections chief in Arizona, sowing long-term distrust in the state’s election management.

Maricopa Incoming

Doubts surrounding Maricopa’s lagging vote count became the subject of national conversation during the 2020 presidential campaign. Due to its stringent, almost surgical ballot verification procedure, it had taken the county days to release count results.

Maricopa election officials must verify signatures after tabulation and ensure, at a bipartisan table, that the voter’s intention is honored in the count. During the presidential election, it took days for the county to catch up.

Garrett Archer, a Fox News anchor known as the data guru, coined the phrase “Maricopa Incoming” during the presidential election for his swift deliverance of count results. 

“You don't have to like that Arizona will take about a week to finish counting the early vote drop offs. It is a function of statute. So next week, please think before suggesting on here it is due to incompetence or fraud,” Archer said days ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. 

Arizonans are reliving much of the 2020 experience as the county’s expected delay renders them one of the last remaining states to reveal the results. The outcome will determine whether Trump’s litmus test in Arizona works after a series of defeats nationwide say otherwise. 

Senatorial candidate Blake Masters dramatically underperformed in a 51.9 - 46 percent margin against Mark Kelly, and is expected to lose the race. Kelly already delivered a victory speech, but Masters maintains hope “to make sure that every legal vote is counted.”

What remains of Arizona’s top roles is Republican candidate Abe Hamadeh’s bid for Attorney General and Lake.

Hobbs, the perfect target

Attacks intensified when Hobbs — a career politician whose post she’s served since the 2018 midterms — refused to debate Lake. Hobbs drew harsh criticism for the decision.  

Many a media outlets donned Hobbs a dull candidate, unable to take on Lake’s claims regarding the controversial election operations in Maricopa and run an aggressive campaign. Hobbs maintained that her campaign was quietly convening with voters, and her refusal to debate Lake was not to platform election denialism. 

But Lake’s victory hinged on those same votes. 

Particularly, Lake needs to perform well in the remaining Maricopa precincts, one of the most densely populated in the country. Currently, she has underperformed across Arizona and routinely trailed behind Hobbs by a few thousand votes. 

And despite the fact that many of Lake’s supporters are calling fraud, Lake unleashed a legal battalion to supervise the count closely, in addition to the curing process.

What’s in box 3?

Republican strategists say this was all according to plan. Many of Maricopa’s more suburban regions lean Republican, but Lake critics say she might’ve isolated herself from moderate Republicans when she lambasted voters of former Senator John McCain.

But there are many unknowns. On voting day, several machines broke down, prompting county officials to create a separate box for voters unable to file an electronic vote. “Box 3” is shrouded in mystery, though strategists say it could contain the votes that favor Lake, and break in her favor, leading her victory. 

Still, it was largely unknown if the trend would break but Lake ultimately underperformed in the districts she was expected to dominate, with much of the ballots tabulated and counted, leaning toward Hobbs.

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