Updated Nov 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Lake refuses to concede, indicates possible legal challenge

Kari Lake holds up a finger while speaking into a microphone

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, Arizone. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Kari Lake, the Republican candidate who was defeated in Arizona's gubernatorial election, said she's "still in this fight" and indicated that she's planning to challenge the results of her loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs.

State of play: Lake has not conceded since the Associated Press called the race for Hobbs on Monday night.

Driving the news: In a video posted on social media Thursday morning, Lake referenced problems with printers and tabulation machines at 70 of Maricopa County's 223 voting centers.

  • According to officials in Maricopa County, home to the Phoenix metro area and more than 60% of Arizona's population, printer settings resulted in some tabulation machines not reading ballots.
  • Voters were still able to put their ballots in a separate day drop box to be transported to the central election center, where more advanced tabulators were able to read them in subsequent days, which about 17,000 ballots did.
  • In-person voters on Election Day heavily favored Republican candidates.

What she's saying: "I am busy here collecting evidence and data. Rest assured, I have assembled the best and brightest legal team, and we are exploring every avenue to correct the many wrongs that have been done this past week. I'm doing everything in my power to right these wrongs," Lake said in her video.

  • Lake's campaign spokesperson did not respond to a question from Axios about whether she's planning a legal challenge to the results.
  • Any challenge would likely need to be filed before the Nov. 28 deadline for counties to certify its election results and transmit them to the Arizona secretary of state's office.

Of note: The Lake campaign did not provide any evidence that any voters were deprived of their ability to cast ballots due to the printer problems.

Lake also said the results confirmed the concerns about Arizona's election system she's raised over the past two years.

  • She's repeatedly promoted the false claims that the 2020 election was rigged against Donald Trump, who was the first Republican presidential candidate to lose Arizona since 1996.
  • Lake noted that she filed an unsuccessful lawsuit attempting to ban the use of tabulation machines to count ballots in Arizona, and that she'd called on Hobbs, who's served as the secretary of state since 2019, to recuse herself from duties related to the administration of the election.
  • Hobbs has signaled no interest in doing so, saying last week she will do the job required by her office under state law.
  • "I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the state of Arizona," Hobbs said. "I have upheld that oath and I will continue to do (so) until I leave office on Jan. 2."

Yes, but: Machines at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Elections Center (MCTEC) were able to process the ballots that couldn't be read at voting centers, and the secretary of state's office had no role in running the election in Maricopa County, which was split between the county's recorder and Board of Supervisors.

The other side: "Governor-elect Katie Hobbs is laser-focused on her transition, building a team that is ready to hit the ground running on Day One. Arizonans made their voices heard on November 8th, and we respect the will of the voters," Hobbs campaign manager Nicole Demont said in a statement to Axios.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the Arizona governor's race was called by the AP on Monday, not Tuesday.

Go deeper