On Wednesday, Kari Lake declared herself victorious in the Republican primary election for governor. On Thursday, the rest of the state followed.
Lake has nearly 19,800 more votes than her main challenger, Karrin Taylor Robson, as of Thursday night. She was one of several candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and former Vice President Mike Pence had endorsed Taylor Robson, who held a commanding six point lead when the first results were announced around 8 p.m. Election Day. However, that margin continued to shrink as updated results were announced throughout the late evening hours.
With nearly 200,000 ballots across the state still needing to be tabulated as of Wednesday morning, election observers predicted Lake would likely receive the majority of the still-to-be-counted votes. They pointed to the Lake campaign’s well-executed “get out the vote” promotion for election day.
Those predictions held true throughout Wednesday as additional results were announced. Lake quickly pushed ahead of Taylor Robson and held a small lead all day.
Then on Thursday, Lake’s margin of victory continued to expand as the bulk of the previously unreported votes were announced. Shortly after 7 p.m., the Associated Press declared Lake the winner. Her margin of victory is holding at just less than three percent.
Lake was brutally critical of Taylor Robson during the primary but hopes her main challenger “will come over” to support Lake’s campaign against the Democratic nominee, current Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
“We don’t maybe agree on every single thing. but I think we agree on the most important issues of the day,” Lake said of Taylor Robson. “And I believe that Karrin will come in because I know for a fact Karrin loves this state.”
The Republican Governors Association (RGA) released a statement late Thursday congratulating Lake on her victory. Ducey, who is co-chairman of the RGA, was not quoted in the statement. Instead, the comments came from RGA Vice-Chair Kim Reynolds, the governor of Iowa.
“From tackling Biden’s border crisis, to standing up for law enforcement, or keeping Arizona’s economy growing, Kari is ready to fight for Arizona,” according to Reynolds. “In contrast, Katie Hobbs is nothing more than a radical far-left politician whose open borders, anti-law enforcement views are completely out of step with mainstream Arizona.”
Lake and Taylor Robson led a field of five Republicans seeking to take on Hobbs. One of those candidates was former Congressman Matt Salmon, who withdrew from the race in late June, past the deadline for having his name removed from the ballot.
Salmon received more than 27,700 primary votes despite throwing his support to Taylor Robson. Nearly 86 percent of those voters would have had to follow Salmon over to the Taylor Robson camp in order hold off Lake.
The other Republican candidates were Scott David Neely, who received almost 23,000 votes, and Paola “Z” Tulliani-Zen, who received nearly 15,500 votes.
On Tuesday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon ended his campaign, citing low polling numbers. Salmon received an average of 12 to 14 percent of the vote in recent polls against his top two contenders, Karrin Taylor Robson and Kari Lake.
“Unfortunately, numbers are numbers, and it has become clear to me that the path to a first-place victory is no longer a realistic possibility,” stated Salmon. “Republican primary voters deserve more than having their votes split on August 2nd, and so I am leaving this race for the same reason that I entered it: because it is what’s best for the people of Arizona.”
Salmon is the latest to drop out in the crowded Republican primary. Steve Gaynor withdrew at the end of April, also citing low polling numbers against top contenders Salmon, Lake, and Robson.
“This week I received survey results that showed I would have a high probability of winning against each of the other candidates in a head-to-head matchup,” wrote Gaynor. “In a three-way race, I would have a reasonable probability of winning. However, in a four-way race, my chance of winning is low enough to be unrealistic.”
State Treasurer Kimberly Yee withdrew at the beginning of this year, deciding to run for re-election to her current office instead.
That leaves Robson, Lake, Scott Neely, and Paola Tulliani-Zen, along with several write-ins: Patrick Finerd, Carlos Roldan, and Alex Schatz. Robson and Lake are the top two contenders in the field at present.
The most recent poll from Trafalgar showed Lake with a 12-point lead over Robson.
However, Data Orbital polling from earlier this month revealed Lake with a four-point lead over Robson. The pollsters have an A/B rating from FiveThirtyEight.
Another poll from OH Predictive Insights this month showed Lake with an even smaller margin of two points.
Real Clear Politics averaged Lake at a seven-point lead ahead of Robson.
The Democratic primary is far smaller: Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is up against businessman and career politician Marco Lopez. Former state legislator Aaron Lieberman withdrew last month.
OH Predictive Insights has consistently shown Hobbs with a comfortable lead over Lopez. In May, the pollsters found that 43 percent of those surveyed would vote for Hobbs, while only 9 percent would vote for Lopez. However, 40 percent reported that they were undecided.
Predictive polling on who would win the governor’s race consistently showed Hobbs with a lead.
According to a May poll from GQR Research which Hobbs sponsored, the secretary of state led Robson by one point and Lake by five points. GQR has a B rating from FiveThirtyEight.
Data Orbital polling from February, which has an A/B rating, reported slightly different leads: Hobbs would lead Robson by five points and Salmon by one point, but Lake would lead Hobbs by one point.
Arizona’s governor-hopeful and household-name anchorwoman, Kari Lake, received some backlash for criticizing the Olympics and largely ignoring Arizona’s 9 current champions. Lake retweeted a question from Students for Trump Founder Ryan Fournier asking why Olympians who hate America aren’t giving up their passports.
“Am I the only one who hasn’t watched ANY of the Olympics?” wrote Lake. “How did we end up with athletes who hate our country representing it in competition and in very public display of disrespect to the U.S.A.?”
Am I the only one who hasn’t watched ANY of the Olympics?
How did we end up with athletes who hate our country representing it in competition and in very public displays of disrespect to the U.S.A.? https://t.co/BcRr1qVZaS
In response, Twitter users asked Lake why she was focusing on the few Olympians disrespecting the country versus the many representing the nation proudly. Lake issued the tweet after one Arizona Olympian – Phoenix gymnast Jade Carey – won gold. The day before, Lake retweeted a congratulatory post for Gilbert gymnast MyKayla Skinner, who secured the silver medal on vault after receiving a Cinderella opportunity to compete once teammate Simone Biles withdrew from several events.
In a statement to AZ Free News, Lake said that she stood by her statements because elected officials aren’t standing up against athletes who denounce America.
“I’m leading in the polls because I will NEVER back down from doing what’s right. Arizonans are tired of weak, recycled politicians that sit on the sidelines and say NOTHING while others trash this country,” said Lake. “The behavior of these ‘woke’ athletes hurts the other Olympians and hurts our country. For every veteran who’s ever fought to protect our freedoms and every service member that has given their life on this battlefield – I promise you this: I will never kneel to the Marxist mob that seeks to destroy our great nation.”
Lake’s spokespersons added that she’s happy to see Arizonans are making a big splash, but believes strongly that the wokeness in sports is causing a big turnoff.
9 Arizonans have received Olympic medals thus far: 1 gold, 4 silver, and 4 bronze.
Arizona took home several medals over the past week alone. In addition to wins from Carey and Skinner, Mesa skateboarder Jagger Eaton took home bronze.
Lake’s comment reflected some of the viral incidents in which American Olympians have expressed shame or derision for the country publicly.
In the Olympic trials last month, hammer thrower Gwen Berry captured national attention for turning away and draping her head with an “Activist Athlete” shirt while the National Anthem played.
The other two qualifiers, Missouri’s DeAnna Price and California’s Brooke Andersen, received significantly less attention – though the pair both paid respect to the national anthem and Price had a record-breaking throw nearly 7 feet longer than Berry’s.
All three of the American hammer throwers are in Tuesday’s final.
Then this past week, South Carolina’s Raven Saunders gave a lengthy speech on social justice activism and held her arms overhead in an “X” to signify the oppressed during the medal ceremony. Saunders received silver for her shot put performance.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is investigating Saunders’ actions. Conversely, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has already declared that Saunders didn’t break any conduct rules.
While some Arizona voters remain focused on last November’s election, dozens of candidates for state and federal offices in 2022 are already vying for voters’ attention and their dollars, even though early voting for primary contests won’t begin for 13 months.
The November 2022 General Election will bring major changes to Arizona’s executive branch, as Gov. Doug Ducey is termed out and Attorney General Mark Brnovich has announced his run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Mark Kelly. There will also be a new Arizona Secretary of State as current officeholder Katie Hobbs is seeking the governorship.
Hobbs announced her candidacy earlier this month, but faces a tough Democratic primary race with Marco Lopez Jr., a former mayor of Nogales and prior Chief of Staff for U.S. Customs & Border Protection. They currently have two other primary challengers, Steven “Paco” Noon Jr. and Trista DiGenova-Chang, although State Rep. Aaron Lieberman is rumored to be considering tossing his hat in the ring.
On the Republican side, 10 candidates are currently vying to get past the Aug. 2 primary and onto the Nov. 8 General Election ballot. Among the first to announce their candidacy were Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee and Karrin Taylor Robson, who is the secretary of the Arizona Board of Regents.
Former Phoenix-area television news anchor Kari Lake has also announced a run for the Republican nomination, along with Ameer El Bey, Kelly Garett, David Hoffman, Michael Pavlock Jr., Julian Tatka, Paola “Z” Tulliani, and Wayne Warren.
Meanwhile, two Libertarians -Bill Moritzky and Steve Remus- have already filed a Statement of Interest for governor.
With Hobbs giving up her position as Secretary of State, the Arizona Republican Party is pushing hard to take back the office in 2022. Five candidates, including Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita and Rep. Mark Finchem, are expected to be on the primary ballot, along with Remo Paul, Mark Sarchet, and Wade Wilson.
In addition, Rep. Shawnna Bolick, also a Republican, is expected to announce her candidacy for Secretary of State at a June 21 “Campaign Kick-off” event.
Whichever Republican clears the primary will likely take on Democrat Adrian Fontes, the former Maricopa County Recorder. Fontes informally announced on social media last week his interest in running for Secretary of State.
One of the state’s most influential offices is up for grabs in 2022 now that Brnovich is running for Congress. One Democrat -Diego Rodriguez- has filed a Statement of Interest, as have two Republicans- Andrew Gould and Tiffany Shedd.
Gould recently stepped down from the Arizona Supreme Court to announce his candidacy.
The U.S. Senate seat currently held by Mark Kelly is expected to be one of the most contested federal races in 2022, although the Republican primary to determine who takes on Kelly will be just as intense.
In addition to Brnovich, the Republican nomination is being sought by 15 other candidates as of June 12. They include recently retired Arizona Adjutant General Michael “Mick” McGuire and Fortune 500 executive Jim Lamon.
Other Republicans vying for the nomination are Wendy Acuna, Craig Brittain, David Buechel, Dan Butierez Sr., Ronald Coale, Eric Corbett, Mark Fisher, Vlad Hermann, Josh McElroy, Rob Paveza, Thomas Tripp, and Chad Yosick. They are joined by Kelly Garett, who also filed a Statement of Interest for governor.
But the Republican primary for Kelly’s seat in Congress could get even more crowded, as Blake Masters of the Thiel Foundation and Christopher Landau, who recently served as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, are rumored to be considering a run.
As for Kelly, he appears to have only one Democratic Party challenger at this time- Trista DiGenova-Chang, who also filed a Statement of Interest for Governor.
Independent candidates still have several months to submit a Statement of Interest, which must be filed by a candidate before collecting the petition signatures needed to get on the ballot. However, a Statement of Interest is not a formal declaration of candidacy – which is done by filing a nomination paper.