2022 Elections: As Arizona governor candidates hit campaign trail, focus turns to independent voters

With the primary election now in the rearview mirror, the potential nominees to replace Doug Ducey as Arizona's governor are starting their general election campaigns.

On Aug. 4, the Associated Press projected Kari Lake as the winner of the Republican Party gubernatorial primary. The news organization has also projected Katie Hobbs, the incumbent Secretary of State, to win the Democratic Party's gubernatorial primary.

Ducey, who has served as Arizona's governor since 2015, cannot run for another term due to term limits. Should either Hobbs or Lake win in the election, Arizona will, for the first time since Jan Brewer's term ended in 2015, have a female governor.

Hobbs tours native community; Lake out of state

The now-presumptive candidates for governor wasted no time hitting the trail.

For Lake, her first stop after she was projected to win the GOP nomination for governor was out of state, in Dallas, Tex., where she is attending the Conservative Political Action Conference. We were told Lake was unavailable to interview for this story, but her campaign did release a statement that reads:

"Kari Lake wants what all Arizonans, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent want - a strong border to stop the flow of crime and fentanyl into Arizona, safe and secure communities for families to thrive, and an economy that isn’t rampant with runaway inflation on everything from gas to groceries. Joe Biden and the Democrat have utterly failed to provide any of it. Make no mistake, a red wave is coming to Arizona in November, and independent voters are absolutely going to be a part of it."

On Aug. 5, Hobbs spent the morning touring a new health center with the President of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

"I'm continuing to outreach to voters in Arizona on how we can bring people together to solve our biggest challenges. I’m not sure how that happens in Texas."

Meanwhile, Hobbs said her campaign has seen an uptick in outreach from independent and Republican supporters in the last couple of days who are concerned about inflation, healthcare, and the border.

"We’re actually offering real solutions to those issues, and my opponent has not offered a single solution to anything that I’ve been talking to Arizonans about, and I think that speaks for itself," said Hobbs. "The contrast could not be more clear: this election is between sanity and chaos."

Focus now turns to independents

As the campaign for governor continues, the candidates are turning their focus to winning over a key section of voters: the ‘other’ voters who are not loyal to a specific party, and there are a lot of them in the Grand Canyon State.

According to figures, around 35% of registered voters in Arizona are Republican. Meanwhile, 31% of those registered to vote are Democrats, and 34% of them are independent, which translates to more than 1.4 million voters who can sway either way when it comes to choosing a governor.

During the primary election, the Maricopa County Recorder said the majority of independents requested and returned a Republican ballot.

What's next on the election calendar?

For those who have yet to register to vote in the November General Election, the deadline to register is Oct. 11.

Early voting, meanwhile, begins Oct. 12.

Read More: 2022 Midterms: Registering to vote in Arizona ahead of the November election: Here's what you should know