Republican Kari Lake’s election challenge to the Arizona gubernatorial race will head to trial after a judge declined to dismiss her lawsuit and allowed the suit to proceed.
“Katie Hobbs attempt to have our case thrown out FAILED. She will have to take the stand & testify. Buckle up, America. This is far from over,” Lake tweeted after the order came down.
Last week, a judge in Arizona gave her a win over the declared winner in the race, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. On Friday, the Maricopa County judge granted Lake’s request to inspect ballots as her legal contesting of the November election continues. Judge Peter Thompson signed off on three out of four requests made by Lake via her legal team to review 50 random “ballot on demand” printed ballots cast on Election Day, as well as another 50 early ballots cast from “six separate Maricopa County batches,” and another 50 random ballot-on-demand printed ballots that were marked as spoiled.
However, Thompson rejected a request from Lake to inspect 50 randomly selected early ballot envelopes.
The ballot inspections are to commence on Tuesday.
Lake has yet to concede to Hobbs, though state officials, including her own office, have certified her as the winner.
“I am thankful to Judge Peter Thompson and his team for the work they do and we are confident that given the opportunity, we will expose this election for the sham it was,” Lake said in a statement.
Andy Gaona, who represented the Secretary of State’s Office, asked the judge on Tuesday to keep the case on a short schedule in hopes that it will be dismissed quickly.
“Essentially a one-day hearing should give the plaintiffs the opportunity to make whatever case they believe they have, a case we believe is nonexistent,” Gaona said during Tuesday’s virtual hearing.
Gaona told the judge that Hobbs is set to be sworn in as governor in early January and that allowing the lawsuit to run too long will disrupt the peaceful transition of power. Arizona’s current GOP Gov. Doug Ducey has been term-limited.
Bryan Blehm, an attorney representing Lake, asked the judge for more time to work through arguments.
“This is a pretty significant factual hearing, your honor,” Blehm said.
“Judge Peter Thompson said he did have some concerns about timing. He scheduled two hours on Monday for oral arguments for the motions to dismiss and set a two-day hearing scheduled for later next week. There appears to be major interest in the case. Tuesday’s hearing was delayed by about half an hour because so many members of the public were trying to log into the virtual courtroom,” KJZZ reported.
Maricopa County spokesman Fields Moseley said that the courts are the appropriate place to handle such claims and that Maricopa’s election division “looks forward to sharing facts about the administration of the 2022 General Election and our work to ensure every legal voter had an opportunity to cast their ballot,” Reuters reported.
“We’ll take it all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to. We will not stop fighting,” she said.
U.S. District Judge John Tuchi of the District of Arizona rejected a Lake lawsuit earlier this year and then moved to fine her attorneys and those of Republican Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem last week.
“Imposing sanctions, in this case, is not to ignore the importance of putting in place procedures to ensure that our elections are secure and reliable,” Tuchi wrote in his order. “It is to make clear that the Court will not condone litigants ignoring the steps that Arizona has already taken toward this end and furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process.
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