Arizona Republican Kari Lake responded to reports that she is readying a team to pursue a 2024 Senate bid and will launch her campaign in October.
“When they rigged the election, trampled on the sacred vote of Arizonans and stole Kari’s victory, they only strengthened her movement,” her team said in a statement to news outlets this week. “Kari will never stop fighting for the people of Arizona. That’s why she’s continuing her legal battle to reform our elections. If Kari decides to jump into the Senate race, she will win.”
She has also appeared on the campaign trail with Ohio Senate Republican candidate Bernie Moreno in recent days. Earlier this year, reports indicated that she met with Senate Republican staffers in Washington, D.C.
“I’m really, really excited about [Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio)], I’m super excited that Bernie Moreno’s going to be in the Senate. And if they’re in the Senate, I just might have to join them,” she said at a Monday fundraiser in Cleveland with Mr. Vance and Mr. Moreno.
Since late 2022, Ms. Lake has brought multiple election-related lawsuits to Arizona courts, but judges have ultimately ruled that she didn’t present enough evidence of voter fraud and that Democrat Katie Hobbs, who was sworn-in as governor earlier this year, won the race. Ms. Lake has contended that printing problems on Election Day disproportionately impacted Republican voters, while she has contended that Arizona judges are ignoring evidence of intentional voter disenfranchisement.
Should Ms. Lake enter the Senate race, she would be potentially campaigning against former Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Rep. Reuben Gallego (D-Ariz.), and within the GOP, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb.
Ms. Sinema has not yet officially announced whether she will seek reelection. However, reports say she had about $10 million in cash-on-hand last quarter.
In 2018, Ms. Sinema became the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in Arizona in three decades. However, she left the Democratic Party last December to become an independent.
“The ballot-on-demand printer investigation report by former Chief Justice [Ruth] McGregor (‘the McGregor Report’) found that ‘four printers randomly printed one or a few ‘fit to page’ ballots in the middle of printing a batch of ballots. … None of the technical people with whom we spoke could explain how or why that error occurred,'” the appeal stated.
An expert for Ms. Lake had “testified this ‘error’ could only result from malware or remote access and resulted in at least 8,000 misconfigured ballots, the vast majority of which were neither duplicated nor counted,” it said.
Even though her legal challenges have been rejected by state courts, Ms. Lake has said that she would take her lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court if needed, although the top court has shown little appetite to take up election challenges since late 2020.
The appeal comes as Stephen Richer, the Maricopa County recorder, filed a defamation lawsuit at the end of June against Ms. Lake, saying that he’s faced “violent vitriol and other dire consequences” because of “lies” spread by her, including death threats and the loss of friendships.
“Rather than accept political defeat, rather than get a new job, she has sought to undermine confidence in our elections and has mobilized millions of her followers against me,” Mr. Richer said via an op-ed in the Arizona Republic.
The suit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, names Ms. Lake, her campaign, and her political fundraising group as defendants. In addition to unspecified monetary damages, Mr. Richer is seeking a court order declaring Ms. Lake’s statements false and requiring her to delete them from social media.