More than a month after the Associated Press announced the results, Republican Kari Lake is still looking to challenge her loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs in the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial race.
Though she ultimately lost by more than 17,000 votes, Lake refused to concede, accused Arizona election officials of misconduct, and asked a court to declare whether she won the gubernatorial race or an entire remake of the election.
A judge on Monday he allowed her to proceed to a two-day trial starting Wednesday in which she will have a chance to prove there was a deliberate plan to sabotage it. While it’s unlikely she’ll be able to, she’ll have a chance to voice her grievances once again in a way that could help advance her once ascendant career in GOP politics.
Lake contended legal archives that he only lost because “hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots infected elections in Maricopa County” and that there were “widespread spreads of tabulators or printers” that resulted from the misconduct of election officials.
There is currently no evidence to suggest Lake’s claims are real. There were widespread printer malfunctions in Maricopa County on Election Day: In about one-third of polling places in the county, ballots were printed with ink too weak to be processed by the vote-counting machines which then rejected them . It’s not clear how many boards were affected.
But county officials said the problems didn’t stop anyone from voting and a Washington Post analyses found that Republican ballots were no more likely to be affected by these issues. And the county’s electoral contractor said it complied with applicable law and its own policies.
“This case is about restoring trust in the electoral process, a trust that Maricopa County and Hobbs County election officials have broken,” Lake wrote in his Dec. 9 piece. grievance in the Arizona Superior Court.
Maricopa County and Hobbs, as governor-elect and current Secretary of State, asked the court to dismiss Lake’s Complaint. They argued that it was riddled with “unwarranted speculation,” failing to “show a single illegal vote, any miscount of votes, or that the [election officials] engaged in any misconduct in election administration.
Judge Peter Thompson dismissed most of Lake’s charges on Monday but will allow her to proceed to trial on two counts. First, it will have the opportunity to demonstrate that election officials intentionally tampered with on-demand ballot printers, which print dedicated ballots when each voter checks in, with the goal of influencing the election and ultimately it changed the result. He will also have the opportunity to prove that the Maricopa County voting contractor intentionally and improperly added their family members’ votes to the total and materially impacted the outcome.
Lake announced the decision on Twitter as “massive legal victory!”
“Christmas came early yesterday,” she he told the crowd Tuesday at an event hosted by the right-wing activist organization Turning Point USA. “We have a chance to show the world that our elections are truly corrupt and we won’t do it again.”
But proving the kind of wrongdoing she’s advocating is another matter altogether, and Thompson could still slap her with fines for making frivolous claims.
But even if Lake fails in her lawsuit, she has been able to use this legal battle to maintain her national profile. Even if they are electoral deniers lost up and down the ballot in 2022, their movement is still very much alive, and Lake is at the helm.
Lake’s legal battle could be strategic
The Arizona governor’s race was successful Lake a star of the GOP. Hers Her attempts to fight her results have allowed her to maintain her national profile, even as the election is over. She continued to be the subject of national headlines and was a featured speaker at the America Fest convention in Turning Point USA, alongside the likes of Fox News anchors Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham and Trump world personalities including Steve Bannon and Donald Trump Jr And his legal battle could ultimately serve as a stepping stone to the next phase of his career, political or otherwise.
He ran an unconventional campaign, eschewing traditional ad buys for viral campaign videos filled with controversial statements that grabbed national headlines, including Comments which appeared to shed light on the violent attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. All of which has earned her the admiration (and approval) of Trump and praise from other prominent Republicansthough she still proved a divisive figure within the party and may be even more so now that she has lost what appeared to be a winning contest.
Kenneth L. Khachigian, Ronald Reagan’s former chief speechwriter, became poetic in Wall Street Journal ahead of the election: “What makes Ms. Lake’s message different is its simplicity and courage. He is unrepentant and sincere, not clothed in code words. Reportedly, Trump he sees something of himself to Lake, and are now similar in how they handled their election losses.
All the flattery of Republicans and speculation that it might be one potential running mate for Trump, even if he didn’t win the governorship, it suggests a future in the GOP. By keeping her and Trump’s supporters engaged, she puts herself in a strong position to help Trump mount a tough challenge to Biden in 2024 and to attempt to meet any other political aspirations, whatever they may be.
Kari Lake speaks at the Arizona Republican Party election night rally on November 8. Jon Cherry/Bloomberg via Getty Images