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Katie Hobbs Wins Arizona Governor Race, Beats MAGA Republican Kari Lake

Democrat Katie Hobbs prevented Kari Lake, an election denier, from taking the governor’s seat.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Democrat Katie Hobbs was elected Arizona governor Monday in a tight race against mega MAGA Republican Kari Lake, according to a projection from NBC News.

Hobbs maintained a razor-thin lead over Lake, winning with 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent, with 97 percent reporting.

Although gubernatorial races do not normally garner much national attention, the Arizona race has been a nail-biter from start to finish. Arizona has become a crucial swing state after surprisingly going for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Then-Governor Doug Ducey certified the vote results, but Arizona has been plagued with election falsehoods since.

During early voting, the state reported multiple cases of voter intimidation as armed self-appointed poll watchers turned up at ballot boxes. On Election Day, some of the state’s ballot tabulators malfunctioned, leading many Republicans to misleadingly cry foul.

Lake is one such election denier. Backed by Donald Trump, she embraced conspiracy theories throughout her campaign, such as his insistence the 2020 election was stolen, and would not commit to accepting the results if she lost her own election.

On Election Day, as reports of tabulator issues came out, she claimed Democrats were trying to steal the election and told her supporters not to change polling stations because doing so would make their ballots “likely not count”—a claim reporters immediately debunked.

Counting Arizona ballots stretched for almost a week, before the race was finally called for Hobbs.

Hobbs, a former social worker, struck a much softer-spoken figure on the campaign trail compared to Lake. The Democrat and Arizona secretary of state rose to national prominence when she helped certify the 2020 election results for Biden.

Her first foray into politics was volunteering for one of Kyrsten Sinema’s state races. The senator was notably absent from stumping for Hobbs, but former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail for her.

Hobbs has outperformed expectations and managed to keep a lead over Lake, even if that margin had narrowed by Monday.

Gallego Says Sinema Did Nothing to Help Arizona Democrats, “Only Cares About Herself”

The Arizona congressman—and potential Sinema challenger—took the senator to task for her lackluster support for Democrats.

Kyrsten Sinema
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego is going after Senator Kyrsten Sinema for being “nowhere to be found” leading up to the midterm elections.

“You did not see [Sinema] at one public event for anybody,” Gallego said Sunday on MSNBC. “And when we have these races that are really in the mix right now, she could have been a very good surrogate to help out a lot of our candidates. And she did nothing, because she only cares about herself.”

On November 9, the day after the election, Sinema tweeted: “Every vote counted, every voice heard. That’s how our democracy works. It may take some time for the results to be finalized, so in the meantime, let’s stay patient. Democracy is always worth the wait.”

Gallego responded, writing, “Thanks for all your help this year. 🙃”

This is not the first time Gallego has gone after Sinema. In January, he tweeted that Sinema and Manchin “care more about arcane Senate rules than protecting your vote,” referring to the pair’s opposition to eliminating the filibuster.

In April, Gallego predicted Sinema would not spend much time stumping for Arizona Democrats. “She doesn’t care about the Democratic movement. She doesn’t care about working-class people,” he said. “She’s not going to be out there with Mark [Kelly]. She’s not going to be out there with our gubernatorial nominee. It’s not her nature.”

Then in July, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Gallego tweeted at Sinema, asking her to have a town hall and explain her opposition to forgoing the filibuster in order to codify the right to abortion. Later that month, Gallego’s campaign fundraised on Facebook, teasing a potential primary challenge against Sinema in 2024.

“Many people are asking Ruben if he will run against Senator Kyrsten Sinema,” the post read. “We know many of you hope he does and he appreciates that fact. That’s one of the reasons he is asking you to contribute to his campaign today. Because if he is going to run against her, he’ll need to win his re-election campaign this November and build a strong grassroots movement.”

“Anything he doesn’t spend in 2022, he can use in 2024 … whatever he decides,” the post finished.

In September, less than two months before Election Day, Gallego alleged that Sinema “would prefer the Dems lose control of the Senate and House.” This, in response to Sinema predicting that, since government control periodically switches, it’s “likely to change again in just a few weeks.”

Five days before the election, former President Barack Obama visited Phoenix to rally support for the state’s Democrats. Sinema was notably absent—not even to show support for Katie Hobbs, whose first foray in politics was volunteering for one of Sinema’s state legislative races.

If not for the effort of Gallego and other Democratic groups, Sinema’s passivity was almost self-fulfilling. Nearly one week after Election Day, two Arizona House races—split by just hundreds of votes—and the extremely consequential gubernatorial race featuring Kari Lake are all yet to be called.

Democrats Won Nevada (And the Senate) Thanks to Latino Voters

Nevada's Latino voters showed up for Catherine Cortez Masto, and they saved the Democrats.

Brett Forrest/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Senator Cortez Masto poses with a Latino supporter in Las Vegas after giving a victory speech.

Catherine Cortez Masto owed her Senate victory in large part to Nevada’s Latino voters.

Cortez Masto was reelected as Nevada senator over the weekend, winning a tight race against MAGA Republican Adam Laxalt and securing Democratic control of the Senate. Ahead of the vote, analysts had warned she would need to win about two-thirds of the state’s Latino voters to clinch the seat.

She pulled it off: 62 percent of Latino voters said they had voted for the incumbent senator, according to an NBC exit poll.

In the leadup to the midterm elections, analysts widely predicted that Latino voters would swing Republican, disillusioned by Democrats taking their support for granted and failing to address their top issues.

But network exit polls and the AP found that about 60 percent of Hispanic and Latino voters went Democratic.

Latino votes for Democrats are not a given: the community’s support for the party is lower than the previous midterm cycle, when nearly 70 percent of Hispanic and Latino voters went Democratic.

And while Latinos were expected to make up 20 percent of Nevada voters last week, an NBC poll found they made up only 12 percent. The real issue was not whether Latino voters would go Republican; it was whether they would turn up at all.

Cortez Masto, the first Latina senator, worked hard to ensure they would. During her campaign, she did major outreach to the Latino community, particularly women and small business owners. She focused on issues important to them, such as child care and affordable housing, and ran ads in both English and Spanish.

She acknowledged the influence of Latino support in her victory speech: “I will never, ever give up fighting for our immigrant families. That means a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, our TPS holders, our essential workers, and our farm workers,” she said. “These Nevadans deserve to feel safe here, in their home, and I will work with anyone, anyone to ensure they are treated with dignity.”

It turns out voters will back you if you show you’re listening to them.

Supreme Court Says January 6 Committee Can Get Kelli Ward’s Phone Records

Things aren’t looking good for Team Trump.

Caitlin O’Hara/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a motion by Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward to block the House January 6 committee from accessing her phone records.

Justice Elena Kagan on October 26 had temporarily blocked a subpoena from the committee investigating the January 6 riot from accessing Ward’s phone and text records. Ward is accused of working with former President Donald Trump to organize a group of fake presidential electors who would help prevent the transfer of power to Joe Biden.

Although Kagan’s ruling initially looked like a win for Team Trump, she denied the motion a few weeks later.

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas—whose wife, Ginni Thomas, is also being investigated for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election results—said they would have granted Ward’s request.

The January 6 committee is slowly closing in on Trump’s inner circle. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows have been ordered to testify about their efforts to interfere with election results.

Former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison for refusing to testify before the committee, and Trump himself has sued to block a subpoena for his testimony.

It is unclear what the committee will do if Trump fails to comply.

The Georgia Senate Race Absolutely Still Matters

Democrats can do a lot more with 51 seats in the Senate.

Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Democratic Senators Raphael Warnock and Joe Manchin

The Democrats have officially kept control of the Senate, but voters still shouldn’t take their eyes off Georgia’s runoff race.

Democrats hold 50 seats after Catherine Cortez Masto and Mark Kelly won their races in Nevada and Arizona, respectively, over the weekend. Vice President Kamala Harris would act as the tiebreaker vote.

Incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock faces off against ultra-conservative Herschel Walker in a December 6 runoff race for one of Georgia’s Senate seats. Although some pressure has been lifted from Warnock, as his victory is no longer necessary for a majority, winning would still be a huge boon to his party.

David Nir, the political director for Daily Kos, pointed out that the Georgia race still matters “immensely.”

Not only would the extra seat eliminate the unspoken power-sharing agreement between Senate Republicans and Democrats, Nir noted that it would also take power away from senators such as Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, both of whom held up major spending and climate bills.

It would also give Democrats the majority on Senate committees. All committee memberships are currently split evenly between the two parties, resulting in many committee votes dying in ties.

A 51-seat majority would give Democrats full control of the committees giving them the power to approve moves such as judicial nominations without having to persuade Republicans to their side or wait for Harris to weigh in.

Communications strategist Doug Gordon also said that 51 seats would mean fewer seats will need to be defended or flipped during the next election cycle in 2024 to keep the majority.

Also, he added, “Walker has no business being a senator.”

The long-predicted “red wave” died down to a slow trickle on Election Day, though it has still been a tooth-and-nail fight to the majority. Cortez Masto only just eked out her win, and the House of Representatives is still up for grabs, almost a week later.

Warnock, Georgia’s first Black senator, was elected to Congress alongside fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff in January 2021 runoff elections, a major victory for Democrats in the historically red state.

But despite the state’s recent history of leaning Democratic, he and Walker were locked in a dead heat for almost the entire 2022 race. Walker, a former NFL player, enjoyed widespread Republican support despite lying about his academic record and being accused by two women of pressuring and paying for them to get abortions.

The pair will now enter a four-week campaigning blitz ahead of the second vote.

Mike Pence: Trump is “Part of the Problem,” January 6 Behavior Was “Reckless”

The former vice president’s comments come as Trump is expected to announce his 2024 presidential bid.

Shannon Finney/Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence called then-President Donald Trump “reckless” with his response to the January 6 riot, saying Trump “endangered me and my family and everyone at the Capitol building.”

Pence’s comments came during an interview Sunday night with ABC’s David Muir, just two days before Trump is expected to announce his 2024 bid for president.

Trump had been incensed at Pence, who oversaw Congress’s certification of Electoral College results, for not going along with his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. While Pence and other officials were barricaded inside the Capitol on January 6, Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should’ve been done.”

On the tweet, Pence said: “It angered me, but I turned to my daughter, who was standing nearby, and I said, ‘It doesn’t take courage to break the law. It takes courage to uphold the law.’”

Pence’s comments are part of a longer series of attempts to both express his disapproval for Trump yet still maintain favor with the party.

Last week, Pence penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal recounting the chaotic aftermath of the 2020 election. In it, he described his repeated attempts to follow constitutional order in not overturning election results, and yet still in a charming conclusion he tells Trump, “I’m also never gonna stop praying for you.”

And Trump, Pence writes, smiles right back, saying “That’s right—don’t ever change.”

The heartwarming moment came after Trump leveled threats toward Pence and incited a riot of insurrectionists who sought to hang the former vice president.

Pence’s piece came from his forthcoming memoir, set to be released on Tuesday. In the memoir, Pence also attacks Trump on his handling of the 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, the investigations into Russian election interference, and both instances when Trump faced impeachment.

Also on Tuesday, Trump is expected to announce his third consecutive bid for the presidency.

Trump will likely continue with his announcement, in spite—or perhaps especially because—of Pence’s press tour and a broader party establishment raring to get rid of the former president after a disappointing midterm showing.

Though Trump-endorsed candidates fared poorly in the midterms, he still commands popularity among a broad swath of the Republican electorate. With Pence’s comments coming on the brink of Trump’s announcement—while Ron DeSantis enjoys large favor with the party establishment—the race for 2024 has officially begun.

The Path to 218: Can Democrats Still Win the House?

A look at the remaining races that will determine which party will have control of the House.

Capitol building
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Control of the House of Representatives was still up for grabs Monday, although the Democrats’ path to victory has narrowed significantly.

The New York Times showed Democrats holding 204 seats, while the Republicans had 212. A party needs 218 seats for a majority. There are still 19 uncalled races.

The Senate stayed in Democratic control after Mark Kelly and Catherine Cortez Masto won their races in Arizona and Nevada, respectively, over the weekend. With 50 Democratic senators, Vice President Kamala Harris can be the tie-breaking vote. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker will face off for the Georgia senator position in a December runoff.

Christopher Bouzy, the founder of anti-hate research organization Bot Sentinel, said he was “confident” the Democrats could get to 216 seats as more races in California, Arkansas, Maine, and Oregon are called.

He explained on Twitter he was optimistic that Democrats could also win in a few other tight races, including against Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert, and secure the needed 218 seats.

Bouzy also noted that Democrats have already pulled off a major upset, after analysts predicted for weeks there would be a “red wave” that saw Republicans take back both houses of Congress.

Instead, Democrats kept control of the Senate, and the House races are coming down to the wire.

If Democrats don’t win the needed remaining races, Republicans will have a slim majority of just a few seats.

The left was able to win by running on both “pocketbook” and social issues, galvanizing a record voter turnout—particularly among women and young people—that saw the red wave dry up to a trickle.

President Biden, who had warned repeatedly that “democracy is on the ballot” during the midterm elections, also hailed the wins.

We lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than any Democratic president’s first midterm election in at least 40 years. And we had the best midterms for Governors since 1986,” he tweeted after Election Day.

“The American people spoke.”

However, he expressed concerns it wouldn’t be enough. “I think we’re going to get very close in the House. I think it’s going to be very close, but I don’t think we’re going to make it,” he told reporters Monday on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Indonesia.

Cortez Masto Reelected Nevada Senator, Winning Key Seat for Democrats

Catherine Cortez Masto’s victory gives Democrats control of the Senate.

Profile view of Cortez Masto, as she smiles on stage.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto was reelected Nevada senator on Tuesday in a tight race against MAGA Republican Adam Laxalt, according to a projection from NBC News.

Cortez Masto leads Laxalt 48.7 percent to 48.2 percent, with 96 percent reporting.

With Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada, Democrats will have 50 seats and maintain control in the Senate, as Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote.

Nevada is a swing state that went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election and Joe Biden in 2020. But analysts have been warning for weeks that Democrats have taken the state’s Latino vote for granted and risked losing the crucial demographic during the midterms.

Cortez Masto, who in 2016 became the first Latina elected to Senate, specifically targeted Latina voters during her campaign. She focused on issues such as abortion access, affordable housing, and childcare.

She also sought to reach out to Latino small-business owners, to ensure they did not feel forgotten by Washington lawmakers.

Laxalt, however, was confident that he could draw the Latino vote away from the Democrats.

A descendant of Washington institution Republicans—his grandfather was once called Ronald Reagan’s “first friend”—Laxalt has veered sharply right from his family tree.

A former Nevada attorney general, Laxalt co-chaired Donald Trump’s campaign in the state and is now positioned to take up the former president’s ideological mantle.

He has complained against “wokeness” and pushed multiple conspiracy theories, including the Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. After announcing his Senate campaign in late 2021, Laxalt pushed for an audit of the 2020 results in Douglas County, a rural county in Nevada’s northwest.

In October, 14 of his relatives endorsed Cortez Masto, though Laxalt pointed out that most of them were already registered Democrats.

This article has been updated.

More on the 2022 Election

Democrat Adrian Fontes Wins Arizona Secretary of State, Defeats MAGA Republican Mark Finchem

His victory means that a conspiracy theorist and election denier will not oversee voting rights in Arizona.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Mega-conspiracy theorist and MAGA Republican Mark Finchem lost the race for Arizona secretary of state, according to a projection from the Associated Press.

Democratic Adrian Fontes leads Finchem 52.8 percent to 47.2 percent, with 83 percent of votes counted. The former Maricopa County recorder and U.S. Marine will control the certification of election results in a crucial swing state.

Finchem ran an unusual campaign, with almost no paid advertising, public events, or media appearances, and with only one aide. Instead, he opted to ride the popularity of other more prominent right-wingers such as Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. The Republican, whose signature look includes a cowboy hat, campaigned under the slogan “Just Follow the Law”—but he seemed pretty intent on breaking it.

A 2020 election denier, Finchem was photographed in the mob outside the Capitol on January 6. He has denied going into the building but says he would not have certified the results that year and has hinted he might reject Democratic victories in the future. He had expressed deep distrust of vote-counting machines and could force counties to count the votes by hand, which experts say is slower and less accurate. He can also change rules on where to set up voting booths and work with the state government to restrict early and mail-in voting.

Finchem also expressed support for the groups of people who showed up, sometimes armed, at early voting stations in Arizona. They said they were watching for voter fraud, but many accused them of voter intimidation, as they would take photos of people dropping off their ballots and sometimes follow voters.

As if that weren’t dangerous enough, Finchem has embraced some conspiracy theories that even his fellow MAGA Republicans won’t touch. He has said he is a member of the Oath Keepers and has accused former Vice President Mike Pence of plotting both a coup to topple Trump and to steal the presidency in 2024.

Mark Kelly Defeats MAGA Candidate Blake Masters in Arizona Senate Race

With Arizona in the bag, Democrats need either a win in Nevada or the upcoming Georgia runoff to maintain control of the Senate.

Mark Kelly speaks to supporters at a podium that reads “Mark Kelly for U.S. Senate”
Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly has defeated Republican challenger Blake Masters in the hotly contested Arizona Senate race. The race was called late Friday night by the Associated Press; with 83 percent of votes in, Kelly was leading by a margin of 51.8 to 46.1 percent. At the time the race was called, Masters was running slightly behind his fellow Republican, Kari Lake, who is running for governor in the state. (When the Senate race was called, Lake trailed Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs by a 50.7 t0 49.3 margin.)  

Arizona was seen as one of the races crucial to Democrats maintaining their hair-thin hold on the Senate. By securing re-election, Kelly brings the Democrats within one seat of keeping control of the Senate (should Democrats notch 50 seats, Vice President Kamala Harris will cast the tie-breaking vote). 

Kelly, a former astronaut and husband of former Representative Gabby Giffords, supports codifying abortion access into law and overhauling the U.S. immigration system. He also backs increased gun regulation and runs a nonprofit dedicated to the issue with his wife, who retired from politics after surviving an assassination attempt.

Arizona went for President Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election, in a major upset.

But Republicans made steady inroads over the following two years, in part due to runaway inflation that they blamed on Biden.

Masters was seen as a long-shot candidate, but he gained steadily on Kelly in the last few weeks of the race. He was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and got a huge popularity boost through support from a MAGA PAC and his former boss, far-right billionaire Peter Thiel, who was a major donor to Masters’ campaign.

Masters initially supported a fetal personhood law but soon backed off that extreme stance in favor of a federal 15-week abortion ban. Both his initial abortion stance and his (false) claims that the 2020 election was rigged were scrubbed from his campaign website. He also supports finishing the expensive and ineffective U.S.-Mexico border wall started by Trump.

Attention now shifts to the Nevada Senate race, where Republican Adam Laxalt, at the time of this writing, had a 821 vote lead over incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto. However, Nevada politics reporter John Ralston, who has forgotten more about the Silver State’s political scene than most of the rest of us will ever know, favors Cortez Masto based on where the remaining votes are. 

 Should Democrats manage to secure the Senate ahead of the Georgia run-off, it could scramble the conventional wisdom of how voters might turn out to vote in that contest. The New Republic’s Grace Segers has some timely analysis of how that contest might shake out should Democrats win in Nevada.