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Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs launches gubernatorial campaign

(CNN) —  

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on Wednesday announced a campaign for governor, releasing a video in which she touts her role as a leading defender of the integrity of the 2020 election and pledges to help Arizona build back after the coronavirus pandemic.

Hobbs’ profile rose considerably in the wake of the 2020 election, when she made numerous media appearances – initially on the vote count in Arizona and later defending the state’s count against some of the baseless conspiracies from Republicans. Hobbs has lately been the chief critic of the so-called audit of Maricopa County ballots.

“There is real harm going on for many. And the other side isn’t offering policies to make our lives better, they are offering conspiracies that only make our lives worse,” Hobbs says in the video that features clips of her media appearances and addresses some of the threats she received because of her job. “We did our jobs. They refuse to do theirs. And there is a lot more work to be done. That is why I am running for governor.”

She adds: “In 2020, against all odds, in the middle of a pandemic, we proved that democracy works. … Arizona needs to work for all. That’s why I’m running. Let’s get the job done.”

Current Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey – a Republican – is term-limited. A handful of Republicans have said they are considering a bid and Kimberly Yee, the current state treasurer, has announced a run to succeed Ducey.

Hobbs was narrowly elected as Arizona’s Secretary of State in 2018. She previously served as a member of the Arizona Senate and House of Representatives.

The 2020 election was the culmination of a political sea change in Arizona, marking just the second time a Democrat for president has won the state in more than seven decades. The state that was once a Republican hotbed, known for right-leaning leaders like Barry Goldwater and John McCain, is now in the midst of a shift, propelled by a growing Latino population, a surge in new voters from states like California and Illinois and the way suburban voters dramatically broke with the Republican Party during Trump’s White House tenure.

For Democrats, the next few years in Arizona will be focused on continuing the state’s leftward shift, a focus that will include increased outreach to Latino communities and look to further divide the Republican Party from their once suburban base.

Hobbs has been central in that shift, using her platform as secretary of state to ensure voters – and the nation that was closely watching the state – that the results in Arizona were fair and accurate, despite vocal complaints from Trump and other Republicans.

Her job has also recently positioned her at the center of Republican efforts to audit the ballot count in Maricopa County, a process that has pulled Republicans into an intraparty fight between some who want the audit and county officials who call it a joke.

Hobbs has lambasted the so-called audit – the latest in a long line of Republican attempts to follow up on Trump’s unfounded election complaints – and complained about how the auditors have used more than $6 million in election equipment that may not be able to be used in future elections. She has received death threats in response, leading Hobbs to received protection from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

“What we’re seeing happen is not an audit,” Hobbs told reporters recently. “It is a fundraising stunt.”

CNN’s Eric Bradner contributed to this report.

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