Democrat Katie Hobbs was elected Arizona governor Monday in a tight race against mega MAGA Republican Kari Lake, according to a projection from NBC News.
Hobbs maintained a razor-thin lead over Lake, winning with 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent, with 97 percent reporting.
Although gubernatorial races do not normally garner much national attention, the Arizona race has been a nail-biter from start to finish. Arizona has become a crucial swing state after surprisingly going for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Then-Governor Doug Ducey certified the vote results, but Arizona has been plagued with election falsehoods since.
During early voting, the state reported multiple cases of voter intimidation as armed self-appointed poll watchers turned up at ballot boxes. On Election Day, some of the state’s ballot tabulators malfunctioned, leading many Republicans to misleadingly cry foul.
Lake is one such election denier. Backed by Donald Trump, she embraced conspiracy theories throughout her campaign, such as his insistence the 2020 election was stolen, and would not commit to accepting the results if she lost her own election.
On Election Day, as reports of tabulator issues came out, she claimed Democrats were trying to steal the election and told her supporters not to change polling stations because doing so would make their ballots “likely not count”—a claim reporters immediately debunked.
Counting Arizona ballots stretched for almost a week, before the race was finally called for Hobbs.
Hobbs, a former social worker, struck a much softer-spoken figure on the campaign trail compared to Lake. The Democrat and Arizona secretary of state rose to national prominence when she helped certify the 2020 election results for Biden.
Her first foray into politics was volunteering for one of Kyrsten Sinema’s state races. The senator was notably absent from stumping for Hobbs, but former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail for her.
Hobbs has outperformed expectations and managed to keep a lead over Lake, even if that margin had narrowed by Monday.