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Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State Announces Campaign for Governor a Week After State GOP Introduced Bill to Strip Her Powers

Katie Hobbs

This is a still frame of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs from her campaign video for governor.

For her efforts defending the ballot integrity in the 2020 presidential election, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) has been vilified and subjected to death threats. Hobbs fended off multiple lawsuits from Donald Trump’s campaign itself and others by his loyalists in state and federal court, and she joined another lawsuit once a firm linked to election conspiracy theorists purported to conduct an “audit” of their own. Now, just a week after the state’s Republicans introduced a bill aiming to restrain her powers as Arizona’s Secretary of State, Hobbs announced a bid for governor.

If elected, Hobbs would replace the Grand Canyon State’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who was censured by his own party for declining to participate in Trump’s election-subversion scheme. Ducey is not eligible for a third term, and since his party’s rebuke, the departing governor has taken actions that could empower Trump loyalists’ election-toppling efforts more successful the next time.

On top of restricting voting by signing a GOP bill limiting the distribution of mail-in ballots and purging infrequent voters, Ducey reportedly supported House Bill 2891—the budget bill with a provision giving the Arizona’s attorney general “sole authority” to defend state election laws.

“It’s troubling and disturbing,” State Rep. Randy Friese (D) told The Arizona Republic. “It’s quite nefarious that it only lasts through 2022.”

Arizona’s Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich will not be up for re-election on Nov. 8, 2022, as he is barred by statute from seeking a third term in office.

Hobbs announced her run on Wednesday in a campaign video that she posted on Twitter, which begins with a montage recapping the threats against her and her family after she defended the integrity of the 2020 election results. Those efforts have not ended.

Roughly a month ago, Hobbs wrote a six-page letter detailing the problems of the supposed “audit” by Cyber Ninjas, a firm linked to pro-Trump conspiracy theorists like lawyer Lin Wood. The firm resisted public scrutiny about their methods for checking results of the returns in Arizona’s Maricopa County, where a five-member Board of Supervisors unanimously affirmed the results. Four of them were Republicans, and they each rejected the pro-Trump conspiracy theories in late November.

After an Arizona court mandated public disclosure about their methodology, Hobbs tore those protocols apart in her letter.

“The hand counting process being used is a significant departure from standard best practices utilized by jurisdictions and experts across the county, including here in Arizona, and raise serious doubt about the accuracy and reliability of any result of this process,” the May 5th letter stated. “Indeed, the hand counting of ballots is already fraught with error, even in small quantities. The process being used in the Coliseum, to count over 2.1 million ballots in an absurdly unrealistic time frame, only exacerbates the concerns.”

Ridiculing the so-called “forensic inspection,” Hobbs noted that searching for watermarks under ultraviolet light, measuring ballot thickness, and inspecting ballots under a microscope are as irregular as they unnecessary.

“Though conspiracy theorists are undoubtedly cheering on these types of inspections—and perhaps providing financial support because of their use—they do little other than further marginalize the professionalism and intent of this ‘audit,'” she wrote.

After joining Arizona Democrats in challenging the audit, Hobbs subsequently settled with the state GOP and Cyber Ninjas once they reportedly reached an agreement allowing her office to monitor it.

The New York Times reported that Hobbs will be vying for governor in a crowded field, with two of her possible Republican rivals including Arizona’s current state treasurer Kimberly Yee and Kari Lake, a former anchor for the local Fox television station.

(Still from Hobbs campaign video posted to Twitter)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."