Jul 28, 2022 - Politics

Robson bashes Lake, but not Trump, for election fraud claims

Two headshots of women smiling.

Karrin Taylor Robson (left) and Kari Lake at a PBS debate in June. Photos: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

GOP gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson is chastising her opponent Kari Lake for alleging — without proof — that election fraud is already occurring ahead of next week's primary.

State of play: For weeks, Lake has been laying the groundwork to claim election fraud if she doesn't win. But now she's outright claiming she's already "detecting some stealing going on."

What she's saying: Robson immediately accused Lake of trying to sow doubt in the election results because she's nervous about the outcome.

  • "Her allegations are meritless, reckless and disqualifying in someone who seeks the will of the governed in leading our state," she tweeted.

Of note: This is the first time Robson has publicly called out election fraud misinformation as "disqualifying" since the 2020 election.

In a statement to Axios Phoenix, Robson campaign spokesperson Matt Benson said there were "a litany of issues in 2020 that gave rise to questions about the election," but that's not the case this year.

Flashback: Robson has been vague about whether she believes unproven claims that the 2020 election was stolen, opting instead to describe the election as "unfair."

In a CNN interview this week, she would not say whether she accepts the results of the 2020 election.

  • She said, "We have the wrong guy in the White House," and would not clarify whether she meant "wrongfully elected" or "wrong guy for the job."

Republican political consultant Chuck Coughlin says Republicans have allowed candidates such as Lake to make election fraud the core issue of their campaigns by not calling out Trump for spreading the same misinformation in 2020.

  • Yes, but: Coughlin says "all politics is gradual." He says he expects more Republicans to call out conspiracies this election cycle and eventually "isolate (fraud claims) to the fringe" of the party.

The other side: Some Democrats and independents quickly jumped on Robson's criticism of Lake, suggesting she cares about misinformation only now that it impacts her.

What they're saying: "More than a year of death threats to local election workers and members of the board of supervisors and you wouldn’t do the right thing and defend our democracy. Faith in elections plummets? You just pander. Now that these lies you kept alive might hurt your chances you speak up?" Democratic political consultant Tony Cani tweeted.

Lake's campaign did not respond to our request for comment.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Phoenix.

More Phoenix stories