Kari Lake listens to a question at an Aug. 3, 2022, press conference at her campaign headquarters in Phoenix. Lake declared victory in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror
Kari Lake said her slim lead in the GOP gubernatorial primary election would hold up and she declared victory Wednesday afternoon, even as more than 100,000 ballots were being counted in Maricopa County.
Lake, who leads by about 12,000 votes over wealthy developer Karrin Taylor Robson as of Wednesday evening, baselessly claimed that she overcame a 41,000-vote deficit after initial election results were reported Tuesday night in the face of alleged fraud.
“We out-voted the fraud, we didn’t listen to what the fake news had to say,” Lake told reporters outside her campaign headquarters Wednesday afternoon. “The MAGA movement rose up and voted like their lives depended on it.”
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She refused to provide any evidence of wrongdoing. Lake and her attorney, Tim La Sota, also pointed to the Election Day issues in Pinal County, where polling sites ran out of ballots, as evidence of “fraud.”
“I don’t expect to turn you guys around,” Lake responded when asked what evidence of election fraud her campaign had allegedly seen. “You’re a lost cause.”
While she wouldn’t provide the evidence to the press to back up her claims, Lake said she would give it to Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office.
Lake has been a outsized voice for unfounded claims and accusations of election fraud in the 2020 election, which has earned her support from leading members in the “election fraud” community, including from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and disgraced former Army Gen. Mike Flynn.
Lake’s surge among votes cast on Tuesday makes it likely she will continue to expand her lead.
“We know what the outcome is,” Lake said confidently when asked how she could declare victory without an official declaration. The Associated Press has yet to call the race in her favor.
Lake opened her press conference Wednesday on a conciliatory tone, saying she hopes to work with her former opponents Robson and Matt Salmon, who endorsed Robson after he dropped out of the race in June, if she wins and added that she intends to bring Independents and Democrats into the fold saying Arizonans need to work together.
But any notion that she will pivot away from the hard-right politics that she embraced in the primary election in order to do that were laid to rest. She stood behind previous comments that her Democratic opponent, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, should be imprisoned for unspecified crimes, claiming falsely that Democrats “never go to prison.”
“I’m not going to change who I am,” Lake said. “Just because I won doesn’t mean I’m going to pivot and turn into a Democrat.”
***UPDATED: This story has been updated to reflect the status of the race as of Wednesday evening.
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