Kari Lake loses Arizona appeals court challenge of 2022 loss in governor race

PHOENIX (AP) — Republican Kari Lake has lost an Arizona appeals court challenge arguing that thousands of Phoenix-area mail ballot signatures were not properly verified when she lost the 2022 governor election to Democrat Katie Hobbs.

The state Court of Appeals upheld on Tuesday a judge’s finding last year that Lake failed to prove inconsistencies in signatures were neglected by election verification staffers in Maricopa County, home to more than 60% of voters in the state.

Lake's attorney, Bryan James Blehm, did not respond Wednesday to telephone and email messages about the appeals court decision and whether Lake would appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Blehm also did not respond to requests for comment about sanctions imposed on him last Friday by the State Bar of Arizona for “unequivocally false” representations to the state Supreme Court while handling Lake election challenges. His 60-day suspension takes effect July 7.

Lake is a former television news anchor now running for U.S. Senate. She is considered the GOP frontrunner ahead of the July 30 party primary to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego in November for the seat currently held by independent Kyrsten Sinema, who is not seeking a second term.

Lake has been among the most vocal of GOP candidates promoting former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.

Lake has lost several court challenges after refusing to acknowledge she lost the 2022 governor election to Hobbs by more than 17,000 votes.

Presiding Appeals Court Judge Sean Brearcliffe noted in Tuesday's ruling that Lake argued more than 8,000 ballots were “maliciously misconfigured to cause a tabulator rejection" and were not counted.

Even if all 8,000 of the allegedly uncounted votes had been for Lake, Brearcliffe wrote, it would not have overcome the 17,000-vote differential between Lake and Hobbs.

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This story has been updated to correct that Lake is running for U.S. Senate, not that she ran unsuccessfully last year.

The Associated Press