PHOENIX - The stage is set for a battle to succeed incumbent Arizona Governor Doug Ducey in November's election.
Just after updated, unofficial results were posted at around 7:00 p.m. on Aug. 4, the Associated Press projected former television news anchor Kari Lake to win the Republican Party gubernatorial primary. The AP has already projected incumbent Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to win the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary.
Candidates in the gubernatorial election in November are running for an open seat: Arizona's current governor, Doug Ducey, is term-limited, and cannot run for another term.
Lake came from behind as votes were tallied
For Lake, early election results showing only mail-in ballots received before Election Day put her opponent, Karrin Taylor Robson, in the lead. Robson's lead was whittled down, and eventually disappeared, as votes from polling places were added to the tally.
Lake's victory became clear Thursday when Maricopa County released results from thousands of mail ballots dropped off at the polls on Tuesday.
"The MAGA movement rose up like their lives depended on it," said Lake, during a speech on Aug. 3, using an acronym for former President Donald Trump's 'Make America Great Again' movement. "And it proved that you can't buy an election, at least not in Arizona. We the people rose up and spoke."
Lake now faces the daunting task of uniting the Republican Party after a bruising primary. She attempted to reach out to Robson and others she fiercely criticized as RINOs, or Republicans in Name Only, who don't align with Trump on key issues.
Criticisms already leveled at Lake by Hobbs
Hobbs has gone after Lake over her opposition to abortion rights and gun control and a proposal she floated to put cameras in every classroom to keep an eye on teachers.
"Quite simply, Kari Lake is dangerous," Hobbs told supporters on Aug. 2.
Arizona likely to have female governor in 2023
Jane Hull, who served as Arizona's governor from 1997 to 2003. (Courtesy: Doug Ducey)
Should the projections for primary elections hold, it will make it very likely that Arizona will have a female governor for the first time since Jan Brewer's administration.
From 1997 to 2015, Arizona had a series of three female governors. It began when Jane Dee Hull succeeded Fife Symington as Governor.
According to the AP, Hull was Secretary of State when she became governor, after Symington resigned following his conviction in a bank fraud case. Symington's conviction was later overturned.
Hull would go on to win election a full four-year term in 1998, which made her Arizona's first elected female governor. The state's first female governor, Rose Mofford, became governor under similar circumstances to Hull, but did not run for a term of her own.
Hull was succeeded in office by Janet Napolitano, who, as the state's attorney general, was a member of what is known as the ‘fab five,’ an all-female group of elected senior state government officers in Arizona. Brewer became governor after Napolitano resigned to become Homeland Security Secretary for President Barack Obama.
For the 2022 Primaries, there are female candidates in a number of statewide office primaries. Other female candidates projected by the AP to win their primaries include:
- Kathy Hoffman, in the Democratic primary for Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Sandra Kennedy and Lauren Kuby, in the Democratic Primary for Corporation Commissioner
- Kimberly Yee, in the Republican primary for State Treasurer
Hoffman, Kennedy and Kuby are running unopposed in their respective primaries.
The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.