Kari Lake files suit to reverse her loss in race for Arizona governor

"This isn't how democracy works," said Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Published December 10, 2022 12:01PM (EST)

Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake speaks to supporters during her election night event at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch on November 08, 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake speaks to supporters during her election night event at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch on November 08, 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Failed Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake on Friday followed in the footsteps of her political ally former President Donald Trump by challenging her loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs in state court.

Lake's anticipated lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court came within the five-day window for such filings after Arizona election officials—including Hobbs, who is currently secretary of state—certified the results on Monday.

Despite losing by more than 17,000 votes, the former news anchor asked the court for either "an order setting aside the certified result... and declaring Kari Lake is the winner," or an injunction requiring the state's largest county to reconduct the gubernatorial election under the direction of a special master. 

"This isn't how democracy works," watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) tweeted Saturday.

As The New York Times summarized: "The 70-page filing relies on a hodgepodge of allegations, ranging from voter and poll worker accounts to poll numbers claiming that voters agreed with Ms. Lake on the election's mismanagement. Some of what is cited comes not from last month's election but from the 2020 contest. Other allegations accuse officials of wrongdoing for taking part in efforts to try to tamp down election misinformation."

Lake is a prominent supporter of Trump's "Big Lie" that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. Trump—who is running for president again in 2024, despite his legal trouble—traveled to Arizona to campaign for her.

"If the process was illegitimate then so are the results," Lake tweeted late Friday with a photo of the lawsuit. "Furthermore, if the process was legitimate then so are the results. Let's find out."

The Times—which previously reviewed dozens of accounts from Arizona voters, poll workers, and observers—explained that some of Lake's claims stem from issues that the Maricopa County faced on Election Day:

County officials have said they responded to printer problems at around 30% of the county's voting locations. The printer problem meant that on-site tabulators—the machines that count ballots—rejected some of those ballots. The county had provided a backup system that allowed voters to drop ballots in a secure box to be processed at a different location rather than by the tabulator on site.

But some voters' mistrust of the voting systems led them to not want to use the ballot boxes. Officials say those voters were given other options, including voting elsewhere. The situation created long lines at some of the voting centers, but the county says that every person who wanted to cast a ballot was able to do so.

In response to the suit, Hobbs' campaign manager, Nicole DeMont, said that "Kari Lake needs attention like a fish needs water—and independent experts and local election officials of both parties have made clear that this was a safe, secure, and fair election."

"Arizonans made their voices heard and elected Katie Hobbs as their governor," she added. "No nuisance lawsuit will change that, and we remain laser-focused on getting ready to hit the ground running on Day One of Katie Hobbs administration next year."

The Arizona Republic reported Friday that along with Lake, "Republican secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem and U.S. House candidate Jeff Zink contested their losses saying Arizona's election was not full, fair, or secure—and must be nullified."

"Both men were outside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, when Trump supporters stormed the building in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying election results," the newspaper noted. "Zink's son, Ryan Zink, was arrested and indicted on several charges in connection with the riot, including trespassing and obstruction. He has pleaded not guilty."

Zink fell over 76,000 votes short of unseating incumbent Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego and Trump-backed Finchem lost to Democrat Adrian Fontes by more than 120,000 votes. 

By Jessica Corbett

Jessica Corbett is a staff writer for Common Dreams. Follow her on Twitter: @corbett_jessica.

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