PHOENIX — Steve Gaynor hasn’t formally conceded in the secretary of state’s race, but Gov. Doug Ducey said Friday he has congratulated Democrat Katie Hobbs for winning.
Ducey said he concluded there is no way Gaynor, a fellow Republican, can overtake Hobbs in the vote count.
“I said, ‘Congratulations, a race well run, and I’m looking forward to working with you, I think we can work well together,’” Ducey said.
His decision to effectively call the race for Hobbs came even before the latest vote tally was released Friday night.
It showed her increasing her lead over Gaynor since Thursday by close to 2,000 votes. She now leads the race by more than 15,000 votes out of nearly 2.3 million ballots already counted.
There are about 67,000 ballots left to be counted.
That includes 60,000 from Maricopa County, where Hobbs is slightly outpolling Gaynor. The balance are from Pima County, which has provided three votes for Hobbs for every two for Gaynor.
Gaynor has not responded to multiple messages seeking comment.
Ducey said he also is reaching out to other Democrats who won their statewide races against Republicans.
“I’ve spoken with Senator-elect (Kyrsten) Sinema and we’re going to be visiting on Monday,” he said. “I’m going to be working with all elected leaders, just like I’m going to be governor of all the people.”
Hobbs, currently the state Senate minority leader, waged a campaign similar to that of Sinema’s, stressing her ability to work with Republicans.
One of Hobbs’ TV ads showed her shaking hands with Ducey after he signed bipartisan legislation to deal with the state’s opioid crisis.
Also, Ducey publicly credited Hobbs with getting him to promise full funding for the processing of all untested rape kits.
Gaynor, a political neophyte who defeated incumbent Michele Reagan in the GOP primary, supported “the policies and achievements of the Trump administration.”
He said these range from appointing judges who would not make laws, to “challenging the status quo in troubled foreign relationships such as with Iran, North Korea and China.”