PHOENIX (AP) – Outgoing Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday that his Republican administration will ensure an orderly transition to the Democrat Kate Hobbshis first public statement about her victory.
Ducey met with Hobbs in his office more than a week later her victory became clear and days after final ballots were counted. However, the Republican defeated Kari Lake has not submitted and has been working since the election to alert voters who say they were affected by a problem with ballot printers at some polling places in Maricopa County.
“We have all been patiently waiting for the democratic process to unfold,” Ducey said in a statement. “The people of Arizona have spoken, their voices have been counted, and we respect their decision.”
Ducey called to congratulate Hobbs the day after the Associated Press and other news outlets called the race, but he had not publicly commented on the outcome until Wednesday.
Ducey co-chaired the Republican Governors Association, which spent more than $10 million on television ads attacking Hobbs, but he was not an enthusiastic supporter of Lake. He endorsed her rival in the GOP primary, and although he endorsed the entire GOP ticket for the general election, he did not campaign with Lake.
Hobbs, currently secretary of state, has formed a transition team vetting potential staffers and preparing her to become the first Democrat to hold the state’s top office since Janet Napolitano stepped down as US Homeland Security Secretary after the 2008 election.
The Ducey-Hobbs meeting came a day after Republican National Committee and GOP candidate for Arizona Attorney General Abraham Hamadeh filed an election challenge in his race, which is scheduled for an automatic recount with Hamadeh trailing by 510 votes.
That challenge, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, alleges that a number of issues affected the outcome of the extremely close race. It says some ballots were counted that should not have been, while others were rejected when they should have been counted. It alleges that election workers erred by copying ballots that could not be read by electronic tabulators and by determining voter intent when the ballots were ambiguous.
The suit also alleges that some voters in Maricopa County were denied the opportunity to vote because of a widely publicized problem at some polling centers where printers produced ballots with markings that were too easy to be read by on-site tabulators. Some voters who had problems left without voting and didn’t check out with poll workers, so they weren’t able to vote elsewhere because the county’s computer system shows them voting.
The suit says Hamadeh and the RNC do not “allege any fraud, manipulation or other willful wrongdoing that would challenge the results of the November 8, 2022 general election.”
“Arizona voters demand answers and deserve transparency about the gross incompetence and mismanagement of the general election by certain election officials,” Hamadeh said in a statement.
Democrat Kris Mayes will ask a judge to dismiss Hamadeh’s complaint, Mayes’ attorney Dan Barr said.
“Abe Hamadeh’s complaint is devoid of actual facts,” Barr said in a statement. “It does not plausibly allege that errors in the administration of the election actually occurred and, if they did, would have made any difference to the outcome.”
Election Day votes went overwhelmingly to Republicans, but Democrats dominated mail ballots.
Maricopa County officials have acknowledged that some voters were inconvenienced by problems with printers that were resolved by early afternoon on Election Day. Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates has said the problems were exacerbated by prominent Republicans who led their supporters to fear ballots would not be counted.