Kari Lake refuses to concede after losing Arizona governor election

Election-denying candidate heads to Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort after posting defiant video on social media

Kari Lake, Arizona's Republican candidate for governor, speaks to supporters on election night. AP
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Republican Kari Lake, who was among the candidates in the recent midterms claiming Donald Trump's loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent, has refused to accept her own defeat in the race to become governor of Arizona.

With several media outlets calling the race in her opponent's favour this week, Ms Lake has reportedly travelled to Mar-a-Lago in Florida, home of Mr Trump.

In a two-minute video posted to YouTube on Thursday, she told supporters that she was “still in this fight”.

“For two years, I've been sounding the alarm about our broken election system here in Arizona,” Ms Lake says in the video. “And this past week has confirmed everything we've been saying.”

She decries various problems voters faced at the polls, including malfunctioning tabulating machines and printers.

She also appears to claim about half of all polling locations statewide were experiencing problems on election day - but NPR and AP said only between 20 and 25 per cent of locations in Maricopa County had reported issues.

Ms Lake also criticises how voters queued for hours to exercise their “sacred right to vote”, quoting the experiences of one man who tried to vote in three locations with uncertain success.

“Tens of thousands of Maricopa County voters were disenfranchised,” she says in the video.

“I am busy here collecting evidence and data. Rest assured that 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.”

County election officials said that all ballots were counted and that voters could go to any polling place in the district, many of which had few to no queues, with waiting times posted online.

Election officials traced the problems to a printer setting that sometimes led to ballots being printed too lightly for the on-site tabulators to read.

They said they used the same settings in the August primary and for pre-election testing, and there were no widespread problems.

About 17,000 ballots were not scanned at precinct-based vote counters and were instead placed in a collection box to be tallied by more sophisticated machines at the county’s election headquarters.

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After news of her probable defeat, media outlets reported that Ms Lake had travelled to Mar-a-Lago, days after Mr Trump announced his decision to run in the 2024 presidential race.

She has been a vocal supporter of Mr Trump and his unsupported claims of widespread election fraud in the presidential race.

Ms Lake has repeatedly slammed her opponent, Katie Hobbs — currently Arizona's Secretary of State — for refusing to recuse herself from the state elections board, saying her involvement was suspect.

The secretary of state creates election procedures and certifies equipment, but her office does not count ballots, a task that is done by the state’s 15 counties.

“Shouldn’t election officials be impartial?” Ms Lake tweeted before the election was called. “The guys running the election have made it their mission to defeat America First Republicans. Unbelievable.”

The National reports from Arizona — video

Ms Hobbs faced demands to step down in the months after the 2020 presidential election, when the state went to President Joe Biden.

“This fight to save our republic has just begun,” Ms Lake concludes in the video. “I love you, Arizona, and I love you, America.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: November 18, 2022, 7:42 AM