Democrat Katie Hobbs projected to defeat Trump-backed Kari Lake in Arizona
Polling had favored Lake to defeat Hobbs.
Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate is projected to win her bid for the governor's mansion over Trump-backed Republican candidate Kari Lake.
The Associated Press called the race on Monday evening following a protracted ballot counting process and last-minute vote dumps from the pivotal Pima and Maricopa Counties. Though some ballots remained uncounted, the close contest showed Hobbs with less than a 1% lead over Lake.
Polling had favored Lake to defeat Hobbs, who faced scrutiny over her handling of both the 2020 presidential election in the state and her own bid for governor, in her capacity as secretary of state. As Lake harped on election integrity concerns, Hobbs, who stood by her handling of the state's elections, mailed thousands of incorrect ballots to voters ahead of the Nov. 8 contest.
Lake's last-minute surge, however, did not make up for the bevy of absentee ballots submitted beforehand, a scenario hurting many would-be Republican lawmakers as Democrats outperformed polling expectations nationwide.
Arizona's last Democratic governor was Janet Napolitano, who resigned from office in 2009 to become secretary of homeland security under then-President Barack Obama.