PHOENIX – Kari Lake cut into Katie Hobbs’ lead for governor of Arizona on Sunday, but not as much as her campaign had hoped or enough to put her in a good position to beat Hobbs as the final votes are counted in the coming days.
The Hobbs campaign put out a statement Sunday night that almost called him the winner but didn’t. It made it clear that the Democratic nominee plans to do so soon.
“With the most recent numbers from Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties added up, Katie Hobbs is the clear favourite to be the next governor of Arizona,” said Hobbs’ campaign manager, Nicole DeMont. “Katie has been in the lead since the first round of votes were counted, and it’s clear that won’t change after tonight’s results.”
Lake, a former TV newscaster who quickly became the GOP nominee in August after being backed by former president Donald Trump, gained about 8,900 votes on Sunday, but he is still more than 26,000 votes behind Hobbs.
There are still about 160,000 early ballots to be counted in Arizona. Most of these are from Maricopa and Pima counties, which are home to cities. There are still about 94,000 ballots in Maricopa County and almost 39,000 in Pima County. Almost all of those votes have been checked and are now ready to be counted.
With fewer and fewer ballots left to count, Lake’s chances of winning are getting harder and harder, and it may soon be mathematically impossible for him to win. According to an analysis by the Arizona Mirror, she will need to win 58.13 per cent of the remaining votes to catch Hobbs, the Democratic secretary of state.
The problem is that Lake hasn’t reached that number in any of the counts done since Election Day.
Paul Bentz, a Republican pollster, said that the numbers seem to be against Lake.
“At this point in the game, there’s only one play left, and Lake needs a Hail Mary,” he said. “I think she won’t get it.”
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Republicans have said that every day since the polls closed, a wave of GOP-heavy ballots would be counted that would wipe out Hobbs’ lead. However, this has not happened yet. In Maricopa County, where about two-thirds of voters live, where votes were counted after Election Day, Lake didn’t get a majority of votes until Saturday, when she got 51.8% of the votes counted that day.
On Sunday, she got 54.6% of the vote in the county. This is the best she’s done so far, but it’s a lot less than the 60% goal that her campaign workers said would put her close to Hobbs.
Over the weekend, the Lake campaign didn’t say anything about how they felt about the election results. On November 11, on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News, she said she was “very confident that these counts are going to start going heavily our way and we will win this.”
She told her supporters earlier that day, “Keep your champagne cold, our votes are about to start being counted.”
Other Republicans who were in close races also did better. Kris Mayes‘ lead in the race for attorney general was cut in half when Abe Hamadeh gained more than 10,000 votes on her. Hamadeh would win the contest if he got 53.6% of the votes left. On Sunday, 55.4% of the votes in Maricopa County went to him.
And the race for head of state schools is very close: Kathy Hoffman, a Democrat who wants to keep her job as Superintendent of Public Instruction, is only ahead of Tom Horne by 592 votes.
Both the AG race and the superintendent race look like they will need to be rechecked. For this election, a new law says that a recount must be done if the difference between the candidates is less than half a percentage point.
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