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Katie Hobbs projected winner of Arizona governor race

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(NewsNation) — NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ has called the highly anticipated Arizona race for governor in favor of Katie Hobbs. 

When initial counts were posted Tuesday night, Democrat Katie Hobbs held a lead of over 180,000 votes over her Republican challenger. Thursday evening, Hobbs maintained a small advantage over former President Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate, Kari Lake.

Throughout the election cycle, the Arizona race has been one of the most closely watched, with volatile rhetoric and campaigning by Hobbs and

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Lake, a former TV journalist, brought national attention to the state race by making Trump’s false narrative about the 2020 election a centerpiece of her campaign and taking a hardline stance on such issues as immigration, crime and the teaching of critical race theory in schools. 

Hobbs serves as the current Secretary of State for Arizona and became a national figure during the 2020 election when she defended the results after Trump lost the state by narrow margins. During her 2022 campaign, she has said she will “do whatever it takes to continue to expand (abortion) access,” advocated for “common-sense gun safety reform” and has said she wants to raise teacher pay in the state among other policy stances. 

Polls showed the candidates were in a dead heat since late August, with most showing neither Hobbs nor Lake leading by more than a few points. In what has been called a risky move for a candidate without a wide lead, Hobbs refused to debate Lake, saying the Republican was more interested in “creating a spectacle than having a substantive discussion about the issues.” 

The decisive race drew former Presidents Trump and Barack Obama to the state to signal their support for their respective parties’ candidates. 

Obama championed Hobbs as a candidate who would be “up to the challenge” of preserving democracy. Trump, in his endorsement of Lake, said the candidate would “protect our Border, Second Amendment, Military and Vets.” 

Arizona is one of 36 states electing their top executive officials during the 2022 midterm elections. Before the election, Republicans led the way with governors in 28 states, while 22 states were led by a Democrat. 

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This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.