PHOENIX—Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has significantly narrowed the gap between herself and Democrat Katie Hobbs as vote counting continued on Nov. 9.
At 10:45 p.m. local time on election night, Hobbs led Lake by about 170,000 votes, and within about an hour, the lead had narrowed slightly to 163,000. As of the afternoon of Nov. 9, only about 11,000 votes separated Lake, the former television news anchor, and Hobbs, who is Arizona’s secretary of state, with as many thousands of votes yet to be counted.
Vote tabulation machine malfunctions at about 20 percent of polling places in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, sparked criticism early on Election Day on social media, although officials assured that every vote would be counted.
On Election Day, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors gave multiple press briefings to address what it called “false narratives.” They stated that per Arizona law, anyone with a mail-in ballot had until 7 p.m. on election night to turn in their vote.
The election supervisors emphasized that the ballot had to be “in hand” and not just postmarked for it to count. But, if they received the vote by the cutoff, it would be calculated. They added that voting results wouldn’t be available on election night due to the law and that the ballots have to be signature matched to their database. They then said they expect to know the election results on Nov. 11.
Notably, early in the evening, election supervisors stated via Twitter that most early ballot reports involved ballots received by last week. They added that the first drop reported at 8 p.m. included only votes received by mail by Nov. 4. Subsequent drops further preferred mail-in ballots, which tend to favor Democrats.
At Lake’s watch party in Scottsdale on election night, one of her campaign managers briefed the crowd of party attendees and stated that in-person vote drops were breaking for Lake by 71 percent. That proved true as voting results as of Nov. 9 show a significantly smaller gap.
Because she wouldn’t know the results on election night, Lake took the stage at her watch party at about 10 p.m. She started her speech by noting the tabulator issue in Maricopa; the crowd responded by booing.
She followed that by stating, “Guess what? We are going to win this!” and asked attendees if they remembered Arizona’s Aug. 2 primary election, when Lake was down in the polls by double digits but ended up pulling out a five-point victory.
Lake stated a similar situation was taking place on election night.
“I just want you to know it’s early. It’s very early. And if we have to take this fight through, we will. If it takes hours or days, we will.” She added that she wouldn’t stop fighting until every legal vote was counted.
Across town at her own election party, Hobbs also spoke.
“I know that we’re all eager to find out who won all of these incredibly important races, but we need to be patient and wait for every vote to be counted. Because every single vote matters and every single vote counts equally.” Hobbs then criticized Lake for attacking Maricopa County over the tabulation voting issues.
Hobbs’s criticism of Lake echoed her campaign rhetoric. They blasted each other on the campaign trail and fiercely courted Arizona voters until Election Day. They also ran on wholly opposite views on how best to govern.
For Hobbs, “threats to democracy” and “body autonomy” took center stage at her rallies. If elected, she promised to fight to bring “real solutions” to Arizona and protect access to abortion. Hobbs’s rally attendees told The Epoch Times they are concerned about democracy if Lake won and that women would die in “back-alley” abortions.
For Lake, election integrity and border security took precedence, although transgender issues in schools and the economy also played a prominent role. Lake promised that if elected, she’d finish the border wall that former President Donald Trump started. She also stated that she’d deport illegal immigrants back to “where they came [from]” instead of allowing them further into the interior of the United States.
Lake rally attendees told The Epoch Times that rising crime and drugs flooding their streets because of the unsecured southern border drew them to support Lake.
The winner will succeed Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who served the maximum two terms and wasn’t eligible to seek a third consecutive term. Thus, there wasn’t an incumbent advantage going into the election.
Going into Election Day, FiveThirtyEight reported that Lake was favored to win. Emerson College had Lake up by 4 percentage points, while Beacon Research/Shaw & Co. Research had Lake up 1 point. One poll by Marist College had Hobbs beating Lake by 1 point.
From The Epoch Times