One of the highest-profile Republican candidates in the midterm elections, Kari Lake, who embraced former President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in 2020, has lost her bid to become the next governor of Arizona, the Associated Press has projected.
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 US presidential election.
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“Democracy is worth the wait,” Hobbs posted on Twitter on Monday, nearly a week after polls closed.
“Thank you, Arizona. I am so honored and so proud to be your next Governor,” she added.
Democracy is worth the wait.
Thank you, Arizona.
I am so honored and so proud to be your next Governor. pic.twitter.com/O6ZFSHbIBe
— Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) November 15, 2022
Lake, however, on Twitter said: “Arizonans know BS when they see it.”
Former President Trump on his social media site Truth Social said “Wow! They just took the election away from Kari Lake. It’s really bad out there!”
Lake had promised to ban the state’s mail-in voting, which conspiracy theorists falsely claim is vulnerable to fraud, fuelling distrust among voters about the safety of a voting method used by hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Her defeat capped a better-than-expected week for Democrats, who defied Republicans’ hopes for a “red wave” in the midterm elections.
Democrats retained their control of the US 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 run-off on December 6, bolstering Democratic sway over committees, bills and judicial picks.
No red wave
The Democratic victories in a swath of gubernatorial, congressional and state elections defied expectations that voters would punish them for record inflation, including high petrol and food prices.
Instead, Democrats were able to curb their losses, in part by mobilising voters angry over the US Supreme Court decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.
Still, Republicans continued to edge towards 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.
Vote counting in Arizona continued for nearly a week after the November 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.
A judge denied a request to extend polling place hours, saying Republicans had provided no evidence that voters were disenfranchised by the issue.