Katie Hobbs pushes forward following election win

PHOENIX (AP/KSAZ) -- Democrat Katie Hobbs says she'll be nonpartisan as Arizona's next secretary of state, the top elections officer.

Hobbs declared victory last Friday, following an election that saw her pull from behind to win the race. On the night of the election, the Associated Press initially projected Hobbs' opponent, Republican Party candidate Steve Gaynor, to win the race. That projection was criticized by the Hobbs camp, and eventually, as Hobbs pulled ahead in the race, the AP retracted its projection. Gaynor conceded on Friday.

According to the Arizona Constitution, an elected Secretary of State is first in line to replace the governor in the event of a vacancy. This means Hobbs is now a heartbeat away from th Governor's chair.  

On Monday, Hobbs said during a news conference that she will keep politics out of the office, in an effort to ensure every voter is heard, regardless of party affiliation.

"The Secretary of State's office should be the most non-partisan office we have," said Hobbs. "You're overseeing elections, and it gets muddy when politics play into that."

This election has gotten muddy, as questions over a perceived slow ballot count, recorders not on the same page, and a lack of clarity over emergency voting centers all play in to the political theater in the past few weeks.

Hobbs' solution is more early voting.

"I would suggest keeping voting open all throughout the weekend before the election, and I don't see a reason why we can't do that," said Hobbs.

Hobbs, a former State Senate Minority Leader, also wants more transparence. She deflected many questions to her former colleagues in the State Capitol chambers on Monday. She does, however, have ideas if they can't get their act together.

"Anything I can do from my end just on beefing up reporting requirements without legislation, I will look at being able to do," said Hobbs.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

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