Last week, however, the courts ruled that Lake’s claims lacked sufficient merit. Therefore her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs, is the rightful governor-elect of the state of Arizona.
At the time, there was a call for sanctions on Lake, and while a judge has now ruled out such sanctions, he did order Lake to pay $33,000 in legal fees to Hobbs, her opponent and also the defendant in the lawsuit.
Per Axios, Lake has also been ordered to “compensate expert witnesses that testified in the trial over the lawsuit.”
“There is no doubt that each side believes firmly in its position with great conviction,” Judge Peter Thompson wrote in his ruling. “The fact that plaintiff [Lake] failed to meet the burden of clear and convincing evidence … does not equate to a finding that her claims were, or were not, groundless and presented in bad faith.”
Lake lost the election by a margin of about 17,000 votes. After losing, unlike several other candidates around the country who had backed Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” narrative, Lake continued with the false conceit that she had won and that the election had been stolen from her.
But the lawsuit was just as unsuccessful as the ones by Trump in 2020. The law required that Lake show that errors involving printers were intentional on the part of election officials, and the court determined that she had not done so.
“The Court DOES NOT find clear and convincing evidence that such misconduct was intended to affect the result of the 2022 General Election,” the judge’s ruling said. “The Court DOES NOT find clear and convincing evidence that such misconduct did in fact affect the result of the 2022 General Election.”
Lake went on to push an even wilder claim, retweeting an op-ed article from the conservative website Town Hall which claimed that “legal experts believe [Judge Thompson’s] decision was ghostwritten, they suspect top left-wing attorneys like Marc Elias emailed him what to say.”
Lake later deleted the retweet. She has not explained why, but it’s possible she realized it was not wise to antagonize a judge while her case was still before him.
“A few days ago I asked what conspiracy theory Kari Lake would offer for why she lost her election contest lawsuit. It is more insane than even I predicted,” Marc Elias, a prominent Democratic lawyer, tweeted Monday.
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal editorial page wrote about Lake’s unsuccessful election challenge, positioning it as “a sad end to eight years of GOP success under Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.” Ducey is the outgoing Republican governor of Arizona, who refused to go along with Trump’s election lies in 2020.
“Unsuccessful political candidates are entitled to go to court, but if they don’t have real evidence, it’s an exercise in begging to lose again,” the Journal said. “That’s what happened in Arizona to Kari Lake, the Republican gubernatorial contender who fell short by 0.7 percentage point, or 17,117 votes, which is outside of recount range.”
The Journal noted that while there were issues with the printers in Maricopa County in Arizona on Election Day, those issues could be fixed by “shaking the toner cartridge,” and they did not lead to any actual disenfranchisement of voters.
“Ms. Lake said she intends to appeal, but the evidence suggests that what really cost her the election was ticket-splitting,” the Journal said. “In Maricopa, Ms. Lake won 77,342 fewer votes than GOP state Treasurer Kimberly Yee; 39,165 fewer than the GOP’s U.S. House candidates; and 23,901 fewer than a local GOP prosecutor. The same trend is evident in precinct data.”
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.