Kari Lake wins Arizona Republican race for governor

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Former news anchor and Trump-backed candidate Kari Lake won the Republican nomination for governor of Arizona, elevating a candidate who embraced the former president’s false campaign claims in a key state.

Lake did so after declaring victory prematurely on Wednesday when she had a slim lead over property developer Karrin Taylor Robson (R), who won the backing of former Vice President Mike Pence and of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R). And Lake had previously warned that her own primary could be tainted with fraud for which she refused to provide evidence.

“We voted against fraud, we didn’t listen to what the fake news had to say,” Lake told reporters, according to the Arizona Mirror. “The MAGA movement stood up and voted as if their lives depended on it.”

Kari Lake predicted fraud before primary day

Lake’s victory was one of many won by prominent Arizona election deniers. If these Republicans win in November, they will be empowered to dramatically disrupt the electoral process in a key state in 2024 and beyond. Arizona became ground zero for unsubstantiated 2020 election conspiracies after Biden narrowly beat Donald Trump there – the first time a Democrat has taken the state since 1996.

Lake will face Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) in the general election. Hobbs defended the electoral process in Arizona as the person responsible for certifying Biden’s victory in 2020.

“This bitter primary race that fractured the Republican Party locally and nationally has finally come to an end and the result is a candidate who has taken an extreme stance on abortion, elections, guns and more,” he said. said Raquel Terán, the president. of the Arizona Democratic Party.

Other election deniers who prevailed in Tuesday’s Arizona GOP primary were venture capitalist Blake Masters, now set to take on Sen. Mark Kelly (D) in one of the most watched Senate races in the country, and appointed Secretary of State Mark Finchem.

Masters played an ad saying ‘I think Trump won’ and Finchem, a state lawmaker, was outside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, before rioters stormed the building in an attack murderous. He has self-identified with the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group and self-proclaimed militia, and said he would decertify the 2020 election results in Arizona if he had the power to do so.

Endorsed by prominent election conspiracy theorists, MyPillow founder Mike Lindell and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, Lake said she does not recognize Biden as the country’s legitimate president. She said if she had been governor in 2020, she would not have certified Biden’s victory. And if she wins in November, Lake’s most spectacular election proposals would eliminate machines that tally votes, like the Dominion Voting Systems electronic equipment used by Maricopa County, where more than half of Arizona residents live, and replacing them with people to hand-count millions of ballots in individual precincts where voters would be required to vote in person.

State officials, many of whom are Republicans, warned that counting all ballots by hand would make it impossible to meet statutory deadlines.

Lake, if elected, also wants to end mail-in voting, swap it for a one-day election, and strengthen voter identification and audit requirements, which already exist in Arizona.

The 52-year-old mother of two began her career in Iowa after studying journalism at the University of Iowa. After many years in the industry that ended in frequent criticism for sharing misinformation on his social media accounts, Lake left his position as an anchor at the local Fox station in Phoenix in March 2021. Three months later, she announced her campaign for governor.

Full Arizona results here

Lake won Donald Trump’s endorsement in September and has, in many ways, modeled his campaign on that of the former president. Even before the primary, Lake was telling her supporters not to trust the results of Tuesday’s primary — unless she won.

Find out who Trump supported in the Republican primaries

If Lake wins in the fall, his leadership would shift the state further to the right after Biden won Arizona in the 2020 presidential election — a possible move that has alarmed many other mainstream Republicans in the Grand State. Canyon. Lake has pledged to try to enact election-related policies that could fundamentally change how Arizonans vote — and how their votes are counted.

Hannah Knowles, Colby Itkowitz and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez contributed to this report.

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