Checking the facts Kari Lake, serial campaigner of election lies and top favorite in the GOP primary for Governor of Arizona
By Daniel Dale
In September, Mike Lindell, the pillow businessman and proponent of grossly inaccurate conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, said Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake was the first and the only candidate he had supported.
âAnd that says a lot,â Lindell said, featuring Lake for an appearance on her talk show. “That says a lot about Kari.”
Lake, a longtime former local news anchor at a Fox station in Phoenix, has become the first frontrunner in the 2022 Republican primary to succeed limited-term Gov. Doug Ducey, according to early polls and anecdotal evidence. In addition to her notoriety and polite public speaking, Lake got a head start by joining Lindell in pushing lies about what happened in the 2020 free and fair election that she falsely took. describe as “stolen”.
Lake’s comments raised concerns among independent election experts about the fairness of future elections in a key state. It is possible, though far from certain, that the 2024 Arizona presidential election will be conducted with two aggressive 2020 moneys at the helm: Lake as governor and State Representative Mark Finchem as Secretary of State.
Both were endorsed by former President Donald Trump. And like Trump, Lake not only broadcast bogus election claims, but called for action based on those bogus claims.
The lake has no foundation recommended the imprisonment of Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, currently a candidate for governor, for unspecified election crimes; there is simply no sign that Hobbs broke the law. Lake also pushed for the jail of unspecified reporters who she said lied about the election and other matters.
And Lake said she wouldn’t have certified Joe Biden’s 2020 win in Arizona had she been governor. She also continues to demand the decertification of Arizona’s result today, although this is a legal impossibility.
Lake’s Republican opponents are not exactly firm in defending the 2020 election. In early September, none of his rivals were willing to respond to a reporter from the Arizona Republic who asked them who won the 2020 election. in Arizona.
But Lake’s electoral rhetoric stands out for its frequency and intensity.
Kim Fridkin, professor of political science at Arizona State University, said that Lake “pushing lies about the election result and advocating jail for his likely opponent is dangerous.” She said such words could not only diminish public confidence in the integrity of the elections, but could also help inspire disgruntled citizens to take violent actions like the January 6 insurgency. âI am concerned in several ways,â Fridkin said.
Lake’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Here’s a look at some of the false claims she’s made about the 2020 election, both in general and in Arizona.
False claims about the 2020 elections in general
Falsely said Biden didn’t get the votes he got: Lake claims on Twitter this week that Joe Biden didn’t get 81 million votes in 2020. Biden did, end of story.
The election was falsely labeled as corrupt: On Twitter in September, Lake approved a lie by Trump’s spokesperson that Democrats are rigging the US election using mail-in ballots. (Complete nonsense; there is no sign that such a scheme happened in 2020.) And in an interview this month with a Conservative commentator, Lake offered a vague conspiracy theory on the motivation behind the (non-existent) rigging of the 2020 elections.
âThey wanted the MAGA movement to go away, and that’s why they imposed shoddy, shady and corrupt elections on us. They wanted MAGA and everything President Trump stood for to go away, âshe said.
Cast unfounded doubt that Biden is making advances in key states: In an interview with another Tory host in August, Lake scoffed at the fact that Biden took over as head of the swing states that Trump led before many Americans fell asleep on election night. Lake said sarcastically, “It’s magic!”
In fact, it is so explainable that it is boring. All that happened was states continued to count the votes. As had been widely predicted before election day, Biden tended to gain ground in states that counted mail-in ballots last – Trump discouraged his voters from voting by mail – and in states that needed time to count some votes from populated cities, which lean towards the Democratic Party. .
Trump actually won over Biden in Arizona after election night, although he ended up losing there.
Promotion of Dominion Conspiracy Theories: While Lake was still employed as a local news anchor last November, she posted a Twitter thread amplify false conspiracy theories attorney Sidney Powell had advanced on Fox Business about election technology company Dominion Voting Systems.
Lake called Powell’s words “sobering.” But Powell’s claims that Dominion technology altered large numbers of votes in the United States, Venezuela, and other countries – which prompted Dominion to sue her for libel – had no basis. .
In an interview nine months later, Lake vouched for the accuracy of Lindell, whose conspiracy accounts have always been false and who was also sued by Dominion.
False claims about Arizona in particular
Falsely claimed Trump is Arizona’s real winner: In August, Lake predicted that we would learn that “President Trump was the real winner of Arizona” – where he actually lost by more than 10,000 votes – and that “the results that were given on the night of the elections and the following weeks were not only inaccurate, they were extremely inaccurate.
Lake placed his hopes on a chaotic Republican-commissioned election review in Biden-friendly Maricopa County … which ended up posting a vote count almost identical to the county’s count. So, in an interview with a Conservative commentator in September, Lake argued without merit that Biden got more votes than Trump because many ballots were “fraudulent.”
“It’s like having a kid cheating at the Monopoly game when the whole family gets together on Thanksgiving, and everyone sees him cheating, and you -” Ohh-kay, you won. âBut everyone knows he didn’t win, because he cheated,â Lake said.
In fact: Biden rightfully won Arizona and the election; Biden didn’t cheat; the partisan review did not demonstrate fraud.
Throwing baseless slander on Arizona election practicesWhether it was dishonesty or ignorance, Lake has repeatedly suggested that Maricopa County did wrongdoing in the election, which it did not.
Most notably, Lake lambasted Maricopa County for supposedly deleting electoral registers, even affirming the county’s conduct was “criminal,” not to mention that the files in question were in fact backed up.
“We still have all of the 2020 election records,” Stephen Richer, the Republican-elected recorder for Maricopa County, told CNN on Friday. âThey were archived from the main electoral server onto backup disks in early 2021 to start preparing for the various jurisdictional elections that we have conducted throughout this year. “
In a Tweeter This month, Lake suggested that something was wrong with Maricopa County letting her know she was receiving a mail-in ballot for a 2021 local election even though she had asked before the election. of 2020 to be removed from the list of voters by correspondence.
Nope. Like others quickly explained on Twitter, and Maricopa County explains on its website, this is a postal election in which even voters not on the list are given ballots.
Unfounded claim about California recall
Lake even took a conspiratorial stance on the 2021 California gubernatorial recall election that Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom won in a landslide.
âWe just saw what happened in California. You can’t tell me Newsom won by a bigger margin now than he did when he was first elected. It’s an impossibility given what happened in California, âLake said in a September interview with One America News.
In fact, it is quite possible. And it’s worth noting that, as more California ballots were counted in late September and early October, Newsom’s margin of victory on the yes or no recall question shrank a bit from its original size – to become almost identical to its 61.9%. to 38.1% margin of victory over a Republican opponent in the 2018 election.
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