ARIZONA
     Nov. 8, 2022 Governor

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+Katie Hobbs (D)
1,287,891
50.32%
Kari Lake (R)
1,270,774
49.65%
write-ins (7)
820
0.03%
 
2,559,485
 
Registration: 4,143,929.  Ballots cast: 2,592,313.
Plurality: 17,117 votes (0.67 percentage points)

 AZ Secretary of State


DEMOCRATIC PICKUP
Notes: 
Gov. Doug Ducey (R) was term-limited.  Running to succeed Ducey were former news anchor Kari Lake (R), backed by former President Trump, and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D).  In a very tight contest, Lake appeared to have the advantage of being a better campaigner with more energized supporters, but her close alignment with Trump may well have cost Republicans the seat.  The race was called on Nov. 14, with Hobbs eking out the narrow win.  Officials certified the results on Dec. 5 (>).  Lake did not concede and filed a lawsuit against election officials on Dec. 9 [PDF]

This election was strongly reminiscent of the 2020 presidential election, when Arizona was the second closest state after Georgia.   Post-election, Arizona saw some of the more intense efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the election (+).  Biden ultimately won by 10,457 votes (0.30 percentage points), and Hobbs and Ducey certified the results on Nov. 30, 2020.


The Aug. 2, 2022 primaries set up the dramatic and consequential general election contest.  The Republican primary boiled down to a contest between two first-time candidates: the pro-Trump Lake, and the establishment backed land-use attorney Karrin Taylor Robson.  Lake won by a margin of 4.83 percentage points.  In the Democratic primary, Hobbs was seen as the frontrunner throughout the race. Although her campaign endured several bumps, she won handily with 72.26% of the vote.

Lake, a skillful communicator, was probably the candidate most closely aligned with Trump running in any of the 36 gubernatorial races around the country.  She put together an unconventional campaign, eschewing consultants and describing herself as her own campaign manager.  Lake's message had strong Trumpian elements, including steadfastly claiming the 2020 election was stolen, attacks on corporate media, and a focus on securing the border.  Lake also possessed some of the Trump bombast.  In a memorable July 2021 campaign video, Lake took a sledgehammer to television monitors, declaring, "It's time to take a sledgehammer to the mainstream media's lies and propaganda."  Lake's campaign was not just hot-button issues and show; she did address the range of issues facing Arizona including education, homelessness, and water. 
In September, after Hobbs refused to debate, Lake launched a well-named "Ask Me Anything" tour (1, 2, 3).

Hobbs, seen as a relatively weak candidate, lacked the charisma of Lake.  She argued Lake was a extremist and conspiracy theorist who would "turn the governor's office into chaos and lawlessness." 

Many observers believed Hobbs' refusal to debate was a mistake.  In a Sept. 12 statement, Hobbs' campaign manager ruled out a debate with Lake, arguing, "Unfortunately, debating a conspiracy theorist like Kari Lake – whose entire campaign platform is to cause enormous chaos and make Arizona the subject of national ridicule – would only lead to constant interruptions, pointless distractions, and childish name-calling."  Hobbs also did not debate during the primary.

Hobbs and Lake did appear back to back at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry gubernatorial candidate forum on Sept. 7 (>).  Given Hobbs' refusal, the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, which organizes debates, scheduled a Q&A with Lake on Oct. 12.  After CCEC's partner, Arizona PBS, announced an interview with Hobbs, CCEC rescheduled the Lake interview to run on KTAR AZTV7 on Oct. 23 (>).  Meanwhile, the Hobbs interview on "Arizona Horizon" on Arizona PBS ran on Oct. 18 (>).

The race attracted national attention.  Trump rallied with Lake, Senate nominee Blake Masters and "the entire Arizona Trump Ticket" in Mesa on Oct. 9 (>).  Other outsiders also made appearances including Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) campaigning with Lake and Masters on Oct. 6 and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (VA) with Lake on Oct. 19.  Foreign press covered the race.  Lake's prominence was such that she even cut endorsement videos for Tudor Dixon in Michigan (>) and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania (>).  Also in late October, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)'s PAC, The Great Task, launched an anti-endorsement ad targeting Lake and Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem.  Former President Obama rallied with Democrats on Nov. 2 (+).
 
Abortion was another issue in the race.  On Mar. 30, 2022 Gov. Ducey signed S.B. 1164, prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks.  On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court's issued its ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.  On Sept. 23 Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson issued a ruling lifting an injunction on a near total abortion ban that dated back to 1901 when Arizona was a territory.

In Maricopa County, which accounted for 60.3 percent of ballots cast (1,562,758 of 2,592,313), over 84 percent of voters, or close to a million people, voted early.  On Election Day there were "intermittent printer issues" affecting voting at 43 of 223 sites, but later county officials were emphatic that, "This election was safe, secure, and accurate (+)."

Post-Election
After NBC News and AP projected Hobbs would win on Nov. 14, Lake responded with a Tweet, "Arizonans know BS when they see it."
In a Nov. 17 video on Facebook, she declared, "I am still in this fight with you."  She said she was "collecting evidence and data," and she pointed in particular to problems in Maricopa County on Election Day.  On her Facebook page Lake posted numerous video testimonials of Arizonans recounting difficulties they encountered while voting.  In one post she wrote, "We will not let them get away with disenfranchising our vote."  She stated that the election was "botched and broken beyond repair (+)." 

On Dec. 9, four days after the results were certified, Lake filed her lawsuit
[PDF] in the Maricopa County Superior Court, alleging that "hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots infected the election in Maricopa County" and that thousands of Republican voters were disenfranchised on Election Day as a result of "chaos" in Maricopa County.  As a remedy, Lake sought "An order setting aside the certified result of the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial election and declaring that Kari Lake is the winner of the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial election" or alternatively an order vacating the certified results and "requiring that Maricopa County re-conduct the gubernatorial election."  On Dec. 20 Judge Peter Thompson dismissed 8 of 10 counts in Lake's lawsuit; the case went trial on Dec. 21-22, and on Dec. 24 Thompson ruled against Lake on the remaining counts (>).  Although Lake filed an appeal, Hobbs was sworn in on Jan. 2, 2023.

Aug. 2 Republican Primary
The GOP field took shape in 2021:

Treasurer Kimberly Yee was the first major GOP candidate to announce, entering the race on May 17 (>).

Member of the Arizona Board of Regents Karrin Taylor Robson announced her candidacy on May 17 (>) and formally launched her campaign on Sept. 20 (>).
 
News anchor Kari Lake resigned her position at Phoenix FOX New 10 in a Mar. 2 video posted on Rumble (>) and announced her candidacy on June 1 (>).

Former U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon entered the race on June 23 (>).

Businessman Steve Gaynor, who was the GOP nominee for Secretary of State in 2018, announced his candidacy in a June 25 letter to Republican leaders

Also running were Scott Neely and Paula Tiuliani-Zen. 


Lake emerged as the early frontrunner.  Former President Trump endorsed her on Sept. 28:
Kari Lake is running for Governor in the Great State of Arizona. She is a fantastic person who spent many years working as a highly respected television anchor and journalist. Because of this, few can take on the Fake News Media like Kari. She is strong on Crime, will protect our Border, Second Amendment, Military, and Vets, and will fight to restore Election Integrity (both past and future!). She is against Covid lockdowns, Cancel Culture, and will end “woke” curriculum in our schools. She will do a far better job than RINO Governor Doug Ducey—won’t even be a contest! Kari will make her wonderful family, and the MAGA movement, very proud. Kari Lake has my Complete and Total Endorsement. She will be a great Governor for the incredible people of Arizona!
Lake made her support of Trump and his America First agenda the central pillar of her campaign, and echoed many of his themes from "fake news" to the "stolen election."  She was a featured speaker at Trump's rally in Florence on Jan. 15, 2022 (>), and was the lead speaker before Trump spoke at CPAC in Orlando on Feb. 26 (+).  

However, Lake's star appeared to wane as 2022 progressed.  She received lots of critical coverage in the mainstream media.  CNN termed her a "serial promoter of election lies."  A May 2022 article in the Arizona Republic noted that "Kari Lake may be the GOP's best chance to lose."  The limits of Trump's influence became apparent as his endorsed candidates in the May 17 Idaho primary and the May 24 Georgia primary fared poorly. 
Attacks by the Taylor Robson and Salmon campaigns likely had an effect as well.  The Salmon campaign put up a "FakeLake BS Meter" website at LakeBSMeter.com.  On April 21, the Taylor Robson campaign launched a website "detailing Kari Lake's COVID hypocrisy" at www.covidkari.com. 

Taylor Robson looked to be the establishment alternative to Lake.   Before founding Arizona Strategies, a land use consulting firm, in 2016, she worked as an executive at a large real estate firm, and previously was a partner at a law firm.  She is married to wealthy nonagenarian developer Ed Robson.  Taylor Robson was endorsed by former governors Fife Symington and Jan Brewer, on July 7 by Gov. Ducey, and on July 18 by former Vice President Mike Pence. 

Several candidates bowed out before the primary.  Treasurer Kimberly Yee ended her campaign on Jan. 16, Gaynor (+) ended his campaign on Apr. 28, and Salmon quit the race on June 28 and endorsed Taylor Robson the next day.  The race boiled down to a contest between Lake and Taylor Robson.  Lake, Taylor Robson, Neely and Tiuliani-Zen debated on Arizona PBS on June 29 (>).  The event drew poor reviews ("chaos," "cringeworthy" and "total insanity"). 

The campaign drew to a close with several high profile events. On July 22, Trump rallied with Lake, Blake Masters and others in Paradise Valley (>), while Pence and Ducey appeared with Taylor Robson in Peoria (>). 
Taylor Robson's ability to self fund was a key factor in the race.  Through July 16 she had loaned her campaign $15.2 million (>); by comparison the Lake campaign reported total income of $3.8 million (>).  

Of 831,508 votes tallied in the Republican primary, Lake garnered 398,860 votes (47.97%) to 358,682 (43.14%) for Taylor Robson.

Lake's winning margin was 4.83 percentage points. 

Aug. 2 Democratic Primary

On the Democratic side, former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez was first to enter the race on Mar. 17, 2021 (>).  Lopez has worked for the last decade as an advisor on cross-border business relations and in 2016 founded Skybridge Arizona.  The son of immigrants from Mexico, he served from 2001-04 as Mayor of Nogales, as director of the Arizona Department of Commerce, and as chief of staff at U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in the Obama Administration before State turning his focus to the private sector. 

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announced her candidacy on June 2, 2021 (>).  Hobbs worked as a professional social worker starting 1992 and served in 18 years in the Arizona House and Senate, including four years as Minority Leader of the Senate from 2015-19.  In 2018 she was elected Secretary of State. 

State representative and entrepreneur Aaron Lieberman launched his campaign on June 29, 2021 (>) and resigned his seat in September to focus on the race.  After failing to gain traction, he suspended his effort on May 27. 

Hobbs was seen as the frontrunner from the outset (+).  However, she was dogged by a discrimination case involving the firing of Talonya Adams, a staffer who had worked for her when she was in the Senate in 2015.  In late 2021, Hobbs' response to a jury verdict in the case drew considerable criticism.  After some weeks, on Dec. 8, 2021, she posted an extraordinary apology video (>).  Another sign of trouble was publication days before the primary of a detailed account of "an emotionally abusive atmosphere" in the campaign that had had led to multiple staff departures.

Hobbs declined to debate, leaving Lopez to make his case alone in the one Democratic debate, hosted by Arizona PBS on June 30 (>).  Through July 16 the Hobbs campaign reported spending of $4.2 million (>) compared to $1.7 million for the Lopez campaign (>
).  Of 596,577 votes tallied, Hobbs won 431,059 votes (72.26%) to 136,090 (22.81%) for Lopez.
 

Campaign Managers:
Kari Lake:  describes herself as her own campaign manager.

Katie Hobbs:  Nicole DeMont
(announced Mar. 15, 2022)  Deputy national political director at the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.  Senior advisor / consultant to the DCCC, Fall 2020.  California state director on Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign, reported Aug. 2019.  Worked on Nikki Foster's congressional campaign OH-1.  Campaign manager on Susana Mendoza for Chicago Mayor, Dec. 2018-Feb. 2019.  Campaign manager on Debbie Mucarsel-Powell's campaign for Congress in FL-26, July -Nov. 2018.  Campaign manager on Bryan Caforio's 2018 primary campaign in CA-25, 2017-18.  Western regional research director and research analyst at the DCCC July 2014-Dec. 2016.  Communications assistant on Mike Honda for Congress, Sept. 2013-June 2014.  M.A. in communications and B.A. in political science from Stanford University, 2014.  Southern California native.

succeeded
Andrew Markoff
(Jan.-Dec. 2021)  Campaign manager on Debbie Mucarsel-Powell's congressional  campaign (FL), Jan. 2020-Jan. 2021.  Campaign manager on John Walsh for Colorado, Apr. 2019-Jan. 2020.  Campaign manager on Kathleen Williams for Congress (MT), Jan.-Nov. 2018.  Director of data and analytics for the Democratic Party of Virginia, July-Nov. 2017.  Deputy finance director and deputy data and analytics director on Jon Ossoff for Congress (GA), Feb.-June 2017.  Ohio deputy data and analytics director (Mar.-Nov. 2016) and field organizer (Dec. 2015-Mar. 2016) on Hillary for America.  Product analytics for Dropbox, Aug. 2014-Sept. 2015.  B.S. in foreign service from Georgetown University, 2014.

 

See also:

Sasha Abramsky.  "How Democrats Beat Arizona's Extremist Republicans."  The Nation, Jan. 9, 2023.

Isaac Stanley-Becker and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez.  "Judge rules against Kari Lake in bid to overturn Arizona election results."  The Washington Post, Dec. 24, 2022.

Steve Nielsen, Irene Snyder and FOX 10 Staff.  "Kari Lake loses 2022 election lawsuit against Katie Hobbs."  FOX 10 Phoenix, Dec. 21, 2022, updated Dec. 24, 2022.

Meg Kinnard.  "Why Arizona Election Results Are Taking Days." Associated Press, Nov. 11, 2022.

Fernanda Galan Martinez. "'Blue mirage:' Why Democrats' lead slipped, bolstering GOP hopes."  CronkiteNews/Arizona PBS, Nov. 9, 2022.

Samantha-Jo Roth.  "Inside Kari Lake's unconventional campaign for Arizona governor."  Washington Examiner, Nov. 7, 2022.

Eric Cortellessa.  "In Heated Arizona Governor's Race, Calls Grow for Democrat to Recuse Herself as Elections Chief."  Time, Nov. 2, 2022.

Alex Isenstadt.  "Kari Lake's Arizona campaign looks like nothing you've seen before."  Politico, Oct. 6, 2022.

Tal Axelrod.  "Arizona Democrats hope to flip the governor's mansion, but Katie Hobbs has some worried."  ABC News, Oct. 5, 2022.

--.  "I can't believe I even survived that job"  Arizona Agenda, July 29, 2022.

Laurie Roberts.  "Trump's endorsement clearly isn't what it used to be. Just look at Kari Lake."  Arizona Republic, May 20, 2022. [column]

Dillon Rosenblatt.  "The haves and the have nots become clear in governor, secretary of state races."  AZMirror, Apr. 18, 2022.

Stacey Barchenger.  "'I am truly sorry': Katie Hobbs issues new apology in Talonya Adams firing."  Arizona Republic, Dec. 8, 2021.

Laurie Roberts.  "After a $2.75 million jury verdict, Katie Hobbs needs to explain her role in the firing of Taloyna Adams."  Arizona Republic, Nov. 12, 2021. [column]

Daniel Dale.  "Fact-checking Kari Lake, serial promoter of election lies and early frontrunning in GOP primary for Arizona governor."  CNN, Oct. 16, 2021.





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