Election denier Lake loses battleground Arizona gubernatorial race
Nov 14 (Reuters) – Cary Lake, one of the most prominent Republican candidates in the midterm elections to embrace former President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in 2020, has lost his bid to become Arizona’s next governor, predicts Edison Research on Monday.
The tight race for governor between Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs was one of the most significant of the general election, as Arizona is a battleground state expected to play a key role in the 2024 US presidential election.
Lake has vowed to ban mail-in voting in the state, which conspiracy theorists wrongly say is vulnerable to fraud, fueling mistrust among voters about the safety of the voting method used by hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Her defeat capped a triumphant week for Democrats, who dashed Republican hopes for a “red wave” in the midterm elections.
Democrats retained control of the US Senate after retaining seats in Arizona and Nevada, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the deciding vote. The party could win full control of the majority if Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock defeats Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a Georgia runoff on Dec. 6, strengthening Democratic influence on committees, bills and judicial elections.
Democratic victories in a series of gubernatorial, congressional and congressional elections defied expectations that voters would punish them for record inflation, including high gas and food prices. Instead, Democrats managed to limit their losses, in part by mobilizing voters angered by the US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the constitutional right to abortion.
Still, Republicans continued to push for control of the House of Representatives. As of Monday, Republicans had won 212 seats and Democrats 206, with 218 needed for a majority. Control of the House would allow Republicans to block President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.
It could take several days before the results of enough House races are known to determine which party will control the 435-seat chamber.
Lake, a former television news anchor, was one of a number of pro-Trump Republican candidates who lost the battle in state races. Voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin also rejected those who denied the election in races for governor and other statewide elections.
Biden narrowly defeated Trump in Arizona in the 2020 election. Hobbs, Arizona’s current secretary of state, rose to national prominence when he defended the state’s election results against Trump’s allegations of voter fraud.
Her victory Monday was a Democratic victory for the governor’s seat currently held by Republican Doug Ducey.
Counting of votes in Arizona continued for nearly a week after the Nov. 8 election. Arizona requires voter signatures on early ballots to be verified before they are processed. The count was delayed this year because hundreds of thousands of early ballots were cast into the ballot box on Election Day, officials said.
Lake and Trump had pointed out to temporary problems on Election Day with electronic vote counting machines in Maricopa County as evidence that Republican votes were being suppressed.
A judge rejected a request to extend polling hours, saying Republicans had not provided evidence that voters were disenfranchised on the issue.
In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Lake said the lengthy recount process “tramples” on voters’ rights and is further evidence why Arizona’s election administration needs to be reformed.
“We can no longer be the laughing stock of elections here in Arizona, and when I’m governor, I will not allow that,” she said.
Reporting by Julia Hart; Editing by Alistair Bell and Edmund Claman
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