One week after the election, and nearly all of the major loose ends are tied up. The latest race to be decided is the Arizona gubernatorial race. As expected, given the gap between candidates and the small number of votes left to count, Katie Hobbs (D) has been called by all the major outlets as the winner, thus sending Kari Lake (R) to defeat.
As of Monday evening, Hobbs has 1,267,241 votes as compared to 1,247,859 for Lake, with 98% reporting. That works out to a gap of a little less than 20,000 votes with a little more than 51,000 outstanding. Lake would need something like 70% of the remaining vote at this point, which just ain't happening. And so, Hobbs is now your governor-elect.
Lake's loss comes despite the many advantages she had in this race. She's telegenic, and Hobbs really isn't. Lake ran a vigorous campaign that connected with the voters she was trying to reach and Hobbs really didn't. And Arizona is clearly willing to elect Republicans as governor. The sitting governor, Doug Ducey, is a Republican as are five of the last six people elected as governor of the Grand Canyon State. Lake's Achilles heel is that she is a nutter and a Trumper, and that just didn't play in Arizona.
At this point, we struggle to think of a place where an embrace of Trump and Trumpism is the difference between general election victory and general election defeat. Yes, in many places, Republican candidates have to kiss the ring in the primary. But after that point, Trump's support is somewhere between "useless" and "fatal." The only places where his candidates won were places where Republicans are effectively a shoo-in, like Indiana and Ohio. And even then, his support seems to have kept some races—like the Ohio Senate race—closer than they really should have been. It says something when Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) wins by 25, but Sen.-elect J.D. Vance (R-OH) wins by 6. Meanwhile, the former president was almost certainly fatal, over and over, in purple states.
Anyhow, once those crazy kids in Alaska finish counting their ranked-choice ballots, the country will have 26 Republican governors and 24 Democratic governors. That's rather different from just 4 years ago, when it was 33 Republicans, 16 Democrats and 1 independent (Bill Walker in Alaska). This cycle, the Democrats netted two seats. This may be the high-water mark for the blue team for a while, though. There are only three seats up next year, and one of them is in ruby-red Alabama, while the other two are Democratic-held seats that will be tough to hold (Louisiana and Kentucky). And then in 2024, it's almost all ruby-red states, mostly in the Great Plains.
And while Republicans will be disappointed to lose the Arizona governorship, they're right on the cusp of gaining control of the House. Here's our table:
|Outlet||Rep Seats||Dem Seats||Toss-ups||24-hour Net Change|
|The New York Times||217||204||14||Republicans +5|
|The Wall Street Journal||217||205||13||Republicans +4|
|ABC News||215||207||13||Republicans +4|
|CBS News||216||211||8||Republicans +1|
|NBC News||220||215||0||Republicans +2|
NBC's plus/minus is now down to ±3.
The odds are pretty good that control of the House will be decided by the end of the day today. And in a development that will be particularly galling for Democrats, it could well be Rep. Lauren Boebert's (R-CO) victory that puts the Republicans over the top. (Z)