PHOENIX—Now that Texas’ elections have been decided, attention is turning west towards Arizona, where an undecided gubernatorial race could have major implications on the actions of Texas’ governor and legislature when it comes to securing the Southern Border.

As of Wednesday night—over 24 hours since the polls closed in the Grand Canyon State—Republican firebrand and former television anchor Kari Lake is just barely behind her Democrat opponent and current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in the race to lead the state, with the latest counts showing the two less than 14,000 votes apart.

Yet hundreds of thousands of votes are reportedly waiting to be counted.

While small drops of vote counts were released periodically throughout the day, the future of the race hinges largely on two counties. Maricopa County is the largest of the state’s 15 counties and home to Phoenix, while Pima County, which houses Tucson, is the second most populous.

Election officials in Maricopa County have maintained that, of 400,000 outstanding mail-in ballots, the majority of them were dropped off on election day. A similar phenomenon has been observed in Pima County.

Sources close to the Arizona GOP tell Texas Scorecard they expect those unprocessed ballots to swing heavily towards Kari Lake and senatorial candidate Blake Masters, who is currently trailing incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly.

Both counties are taking their time processing the ballots, with Pima County saying they may not be able to process them all until November 15. Maricopa County, meanwhile, is expected to have their results sooner.

Lake, however, is no stranger to waiting on election results. During the Republican primary election in August, Lake trailed her opponent by 10 points in initial reporting, before winning the race by five points when it was called days later. At an event for supporters on Tuesday night, Lake said she’s prepared to wait again. 

“I’ve been praying to God everyday, all day, and I said to Him, you make this victory come whatever way you want,” said Lake. “If it comes decisive on election day, then bring it to us that way. If we have to fight through the B.S. and the garbage, then we will fight through the B.S. and the garbage.”

Lake has maintained the confidence, telling Tucker Carlson in a TV appearance Wednesday night that she feels “100 percent certain” she will win. 

If she is victorious, it could have a ripple effect on how Texas handles the surge of illegal aliens on the southern border.

Since courts have generally disallowed states from enforcing immigration law, one of the most prominent solutions proposed now is to declare an invasion at the border.

Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution allows for states to repel an invasion themselves by utilizing their state guards. Declaring an invasion would also allow for governors to enter into an interstate compact to secure the border.

While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has thus far refused to take that action, Lake has made the policy a central part of her campaign. 

“It’s a great policy. I think it’s the most aggressive policy that the country’s ever seen,” Lake told Texas Scorecard in August. “We are being invaded at our border. Our federal government is supposed to protect us from such a thing, but Joe Biden pulled back a great policy that President Trump had put in place … and left us exposed to a criminal element and an invasion.”

Lake says she predicts Texas will “follow suit” when she wins. 

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens