During the 2022 midterm elections, many candidates ran in agreement that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from Donald Trump. Many of those candidates lost their races, and when they did, most of them, unlike Trump, conceded defeat, rather than alleging widespread voter fraud.
Kari Lake Won’t Give In
One of those candidates has not done so, and that’s Kari Lake, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Arizona. Lake’s race against Democrat Katie Hobbs went down to the wire, but Hobbs was declared the winner by most major media outlets on November 15. Hobbs won by 17,116 votes, which is a relatively small margin but outside of the requirement that guarantees an automatic recount.
“My administration will work to make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible. Our duty is to ensure that Arizona’s 24th Governor and her team can hit the ground running and continue our state’s incredible momentum,” Ducey said at the time.
However, Kari Lake has still not conceded the race (nor has Mark Finchem, another Stop the Steal enthusiast who ran unsuccessfully for Arizona Secretary of State this year; Finchem’s suit was dismissed “with prejudice” last week.) Abe Hamadeh, the Republican attorney general candidate, has also sued.
Lake, who last month called the governor’s race one of the “most dishonest elections in the history of Arizona,” has also filed a lawsuit, naming Hobbs, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Recorder Stephen Richer, and Elections Director Scott Jarrett. On Monday, a judge is considering a motion to dismiss the suit.
The suit, per the Arizona Republic, alleges that “hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots infected the election in Maricopa County.” Lake has introduced information about minor election irregularities, such as when there were printer problems on Election Day in one area of Maricopa County. But according to the newspaper, 217 of the 220 voters who complained were nevertheless able to vote on election day. And Lake has introduced nothing close to any evidence that could put the election result in doubt.
In that same newspaper, columnist Laurie Roberts argued this week that Lake and Finchem should both “face sanctions” for their lawsuits.
“Mark Finchem, Abe Hamadeh, and Kari Lake each have filed their own election challenges, offering up a broad array of reasons why judges should throw out the election results,” Roberts wrote. “Finchem’s and Lake’s lawsuits, in particular, read more like a pair of Twitter rants than actual lawsuits. Lots of woulda coulda speculation but nothing in the way of anything that approaches actual evidence that would change the vote counts.”
Why Lake Won’t Give Up: Trump VP in 2024?
So why is Lake doing this?
It’s very possible that she truly believes that she won the election, or that backing down is a form of weakness. There is also speculation that Lake is positioning herself for vice presidential consideration from former President Trump, who will be looking for a new running mate should he capture the 2024 Republican nomination.
Trump, in Truth Social posts, has backed Lake’s election challenges. And Lake appeared over the weekend at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, at a Log Cabin Republicans event where Trump also appeared, and affirmed his support for LGBTQ rights, despite his mixed record on such issues as president.
At the Florida estate, Lake delivered a speech in praise of her many gay friends from her time as a news anchor. And she declared that “80, 90, 100% of the men in media are gay” and “conservative politics is full of gay men as well.”
She also addressed the election in her speech.
“We just had such a huge movement going into Election Day, to watch these people — these evil bastards, can I say that here? To watch them steal this election in broad daylight, and if they think they’re going to get away with it, they messed with the wrong bitch,” Lake told the crowd.
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.