TUCSON, Ariz. – In the frenzied closing days of the midterm campaign, Republican and Democratic candidates in Arizona are offering voters drastically different visions for the state and the country, with conservative contenders urging a return to Trumpism and calling for “common sense” from their opponents. “
“We know democracy is at stake,” said Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State, who is running against Trump-backed Kari Lake for governor.
Arizona is one of the most closely monitored states on the battlefield going into Election Day. Hobbs, who was a social worker before seeking public office, was the target of death threats and protests outside her home after President Donald Trump lost state in 2020. She says she expects to be targeted again this year if any of the Republican candidates lose or the races are too close to name.
Speaking to supporters Sunday at a campaign rally in Tucson, in historic blue Pima County, Hobbs echoed a familiar refrain about the midterms: It’s a choice between “common sense and chaos.”
“Democracy will send Kari Lake back to the dark corner of the internet from which she came,” Hobbs said to thunderous applause.
Lake, a former local TV host, has said that if elected, she will build Trump’s border wall, prioritize police funding and get “groomers” out of the classroom, citing anti-gay rhetoric extending to the public. in recent months and is aimed at teachers .
Lake said Friday evening with supporters outside Phoenix that she would reclaim land along the US-Mexico border for the federal government and complete Trump’s dream of a border wall. The crowd, many in red Trump hats, roared approvingly.
“We need Arizona to stay red,” said Joel Gleason, a Lake supporter. “To Have Faith” [and] family values as the rubric of the state constitution and the rule of law, we need those kinds of leaders.”
A recent Marist College Survey found Lake and Hobbs stalled in the final stretch of the nationally watched race. Of the voters who said they would definitely vote, 49% said they preferred Hobbs, compared to 48% for Lake. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. In a Marist poll in September, Lake had a three-point lead.
The same poll found that the Arizona Senate race was also neck and neck, with Democratic Senator Mark Kelly 3 points ahead of his Republican challenger, Blake Masters, among voters who say they are definitely going to the polls.
During last week’s campaign, Kelly regularly praised his career as a naval captain and astronaut and emphasized his commitment to combating climate change, ensuring reproductive freedom and reducing inflation. He is also a strong supporter of gun control following the 2011 assassination attempt on his wife, former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords.
“Our state deserves someone who will focus on the problems Arizonans face every day, such as paying for gas and groceries and paying for prescription drugs,” he told supporters in Tucson on Sunday. “That’s why I’ve spent the past two years working on cutting costs and creating better-paying jobs in Arizona.”
Masters is a venture capitalist with close ties to PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, a Trump supporter and close ally. In the week leading up to Election Day, Masters was joined by Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Steve Daines of Montana.
“Are you ready to send Mark Kelly back to space in two days?” he asked supporters Sunday afternoon in Tucson.
“We’re getting pretty sick and tired of politicians just lying,” he continued, suggesting Kelly “misled” Arizona voters into thinking he was independent when in reality he’s a Democrat.
Masters walked back and forth on stage, accusing Democrats of having an open borders policy by pausing construction of Trump’s border wall. He joked that even Democrats are fed up with so-called refugee policies, citing the backlash after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
“This is an election to save this country,” Masters said.
Tucson voter Suzy Jacobs, a Democrat, said Masters represents a rising extremism in the Republican Party that she doesn’t want to see take control of Arizona. Jacobs said she will vote blue to fight climate change and protect reproductive freedom.
“The GOP slate is so extreme,” she said. “It’s beyond reason.”