Is the gubernatorial race in Arizona over? Not quite, but the fat lady is warming up. After four straight days of promises from certain analysts that heavy Republican ballot drops were going to arrive and save the day, Sunday’s results were again underwhelming.
While Republican Kari Lake did win the overall vote in the Maricopa County (the largest and most important) batch, it wasn’t by the margin she needed to eliminate the gap.
Maricopa County has tabulated 98,618 ballots
Est. 94,285 remain (94% complete)
— The AZ – abc15 – Data Guru (@Garrett_Archer) November 14, 2022
When you look at the outstanding ballots, it’s very unlikely that enough votes for Lake exist to put her over the top. Deep blue Pima County still has 38,000 left while Maricopa County has 94,000. Neither should be expected to provide the heavy Republican margins necessary to ensure Hobbs isn’t the next governor. Rough math would say Lake needs somewhere around 65 percent of the remaining ballots. That’s a tall order.
And with that said, Hobbs is essentially declaring victory, asserting that she’s been in the lead from the beginning and that “it’s clear that this won’t change.”
— Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) November 14, 2022
I wish I could disagree, but Hobbs is likely right. The scenarios that see Lake winning have quickly approached “miracle” territory. To add further context, tonight’s drop mostly came from the reddest areas of Maricopa County. It’s unrealistic to think things shift dramatically tomorrow.
This one hurts. I had really grown to like Lake and her ability to handle herself, specifically with the press. Arizona would have been lucky to have a governor with a backbone who isn’t afraid to protect her constituents. Instead, they are going to get Katie Hobbs, a cowardly do-nothing whose top concerns seem to be abortion and avoiding questions.
This was truly a cycle where almost nothing went right for the Republicans. Lake’s loss isn’t just bad for Arizona. It also means that the GOP loses a possible future star who could have offered a real boost in the meantime nationally, much in the way Ron DeSantis has in Florida.
Still, there are going to have to be questions asked about why this happened while other GOP state-wide candidates in Arizona prevailed. Kimberly Yee’s race, for example, didn’t even turn out to be close. I definitely think one of Lake’s mistakes was alienating McCain loyalists in the state. It’s never smart to tell people you don’t want their vote (see: Charlie Crist), and she essentially did that early on. While I can’t relate to having any kind of loyalty to John McCain, and I’m certainly not here to defend those who do, there are Republicans in Arizona who still have that connection.
Regardless, Lake ran a good campaign overall. She’s likable, she’s extremely well-spoken, and she knows the issues. I think she’ll be back sooner rather than later, in one way or another.