PHOENIX – Democrat Katie Hobbs declared victory in the Arizona governor’s race at a rally Tuesday morning in which she acknowledged the grueling campaign and praised Arizonans for rejecting chaos.
“Last night our race was officially called (by media organizations), and I am honored to stand before you as governor-elect,” Hobbs told supporters at Luna Culture Lab in central Phoenix. “It has been a long year and a half. But in this election, Arizonans chose solving our problems over conspiracy theories.”
Hobbs acknowledged that Republican opponent Kari Lake, who was endorsed by former president Donald Trump, has not conceded the election – at least for now. Lake, who denied the results of the 2020 presidential race, throughout her campaign refused to commit to accepting this year’s results in the event of a loss. Monday night, Lake tweeted: “Arizonans know BS when they see it.”
Arizonans know BS when they see it.
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) November 15, 2022
“The attacks on democracy won’t end today with this victory, and so it is on all of us to continue to defend it,” Hobbs told supporters. She opened up a slim lead in early voting returns, but the race remained too close to call until Monday, when the Associated Press and other media outlets projected her to be the winner. About 42,000 ballots were still being counted as of Tuesday afternoon.
Hobbs is set to become the first Democrat elected governor of Arizona since Janet Napolitano left to join the Obama administration as secretary of Homeland Security in 2009. Assistant Arizona secretary of state Allie Bones said in an interview with CNN that Hobbs will sign off on the certification of the election, but Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinel will be a part of the certification process.
Relief and elation were the vibe of the rally in the small venue.
“We’re very excited,” Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán said. “We knew that we were going to have to wait until every single vote got counted, so we are just excited with the results.”
Members of Hobbs’ family, including twin sister Becky Hobbs and daughter Hannah Goodman, attended the event. They said the week-long process of counting votes was an emotional roller coaster and that every time the vote count was updated, the stress went down.
Members of Arizona labor unions also attended the victory rally, calling Hobbs a labor-friendly leader. Harris Harrigan, who is a part of Service Employees International Union and represents subcontractors at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, was pumped about the results.
“It’s good that we have a governor that’s going to work to fight for workers’ rights,” Harrigan said. “I’m with the union, so we know that she’s going to stand with the workers and do everything that she can to make sure everyone has a living wage and stuff like that.”
Terán said she was optimistic about “truth and facts prevailing” and said the election result “protected democracy.”
“We know that for the last two years, Republicans have campaigned on misinformation, they campaigned on the Big Lie,” Terán said, in reference to Lake and other Republicans’ denial of the results of the 2020 presidential election. “It’s very unfortunate to sow that type of distrust in our election system, but I think that what the message here today is that more people believe in democracy.”
Hobbs explained her priorities Tuesday, including working to solve water shortages, reforming education and securing the U.S.-Mexico border. Hobbs also said she will use “every tool at my disposal” to repeal the recently reinstated 15-week state abortion ban and protect abortion rights. She emphasized the importance of working with both sides of the aisle to address Arizona’s many challenges. She also called out members of the Republican Party who do not want to work with Democrats.
“Republicans and Democrats will have an open door to my office so we can get to work, find bipartisan compromise and deliver for the people of Arizona,” Hobbs said. “For those of you who prefer to obstruct, spread misinformation and continue to pursue an extreme agenda out of touch with this state, take note of the results of this election.”
One Hobbs supporter, Rebecca Gau, executive director of Stand for Children in Arizona and a self-described conservative, said she appreciated Hobbs’ commitment to bipartisanship.
“It’s really exciting to see that people can come together for smart ideas, getting work done and trying to put some of this crazy stuff behind us,” Gau said.
Hobbs, in closing her remarks, said “it’s time to roll up our sleeves.”
“The voters sent a loud and clear message,” she said. “They rejected the chaos because we have urgent problems, and they need and expect all of us to deliver, so let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.”