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Kari Lake, who lost Arizona’s governor election, dealt final nail in election-lawsuit coffin


FILE – Kari Lake speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, March 4, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brando, File)

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D), who has held her post since Jan. 3, 2023, won the election that sent her to office, again.

Her defeated rival Kari Lake, a Donald Trump loyalist who ran on conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, has been a prolific litigant after losing by a 17,117-vote margin to Hobbs, beyond the scope of a mandatory recount.

Each of her lawsuits fell flat, and the recently dismissed count was the final one in her arsenal.

On Dec. 1, 2022, U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi sanctioned Lake’s legal team for “recklessly” filing “false, misleading and unsupported” claims in connection to one failed lawsuit.

Some weeks later, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson swatted away a separate lawsuit, declaring Hobbs the winner of a “valid election.” That judge stopped short, however, of issuing sanctions.

On Monday evening, the last of the Lake lawsuits bit the dust in a six-page ruling once again “confirming the election of Katie Hobbs as Arizona Governor.”

The final case was an election challenge alleging misconduct by election boards, and it was also argued before Judge Thompson, who found that Lake didn’t prove “clear and convincing evidence or a preponderance of evidence of misconduct.”

Thompson noted that the development leaves “no further matters remain pending, except for costs, if any, sought by Defendants.” He gave Lake’s legal team an opportunity for an expedited appeal on Tuesday at 5 p.m. MST.

Local outlet ABC15 reported that Lake’s team is expecting to appeal.

Lake counted herself among a crop of Trump loyalists who campaigned for the 2022 election on a platform of attacking the long-settled 2020 results. Trump has falsely claimed that the 2020 election was marred by fraud, but more than 60 legal challenges brought by his campaign or his allies were uniformly rejected by state and federal judges, including ones he appointed.

Despite spin by pro-Trump partisans, these rulings rejected his allegations both on procedural grounds and on the merits. Trump lost every recount and audit. His administration’s officials affirmed the validity of the results. His campaign hired two firms to study election fraud — and which found none, the Washington Post reported.

The 2022 midterm results, and Lake’s defeat, were widely regarded as a repudiation by voters of election conspiracy theories. Similar GOP candidates like Pennsylvania’s Doug Mastriano and Tudor Dixon lost. So did a slate of 2020 election-denialist candidates for secretaries of state, positions that come with substantial administrative control of state elections.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."