Trump, Done with Democracy, Calls on Kari Lake to Be 'Installed' as Arizona's Governor

Nikki McCann Ramirez / Rolling Stone
Trump, Done with Democracy, Calls on Kari Lake to Be 'Installed' as Arizona's Governor Donald Trump speaks at a Save America Rally at the Aero Center Wilmington on September 23, 2022 in Wilmington, North Carolina. (photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Facing intense GOP pressure, Republican strongholds in Arizona are waiting until the last possible moment to certify their election results

Donald Trump on Monday declared the Arizona midterm election “yet another criminal voting operation” and demanded that defeated gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake be “installed Governor of Arizona.”

Much of Lake’s Trump-backed campaign was centered around bolstering unfounded claims of electoral fraud in the 2020 election, and the former TV anchor has lived up to her commitment to only accept election results if she won.

Lake, who lost her bid for governor to Democrat Katie Hobbs, has refused to acknowledge the election results, instead filing a lawsuit requesting public records from Maricopa County that would detail which voters experienced issues casting their ballots, and information regarding errors in ballot counting.

“We know we won this election,” Lake said in a weekend interview with far-right streaming service Real America’s Voice. “We are going to do everything in our power to make sure that every single Arizonans vote that was disenfranchised is counted.”

Her efforts are clashing with a major electoral deadline. Monday is the last day for Arizona counties to certify the results of the 2022 midterms, and several counties have held out to register challenges. Cochise and Mojave country — both rural, Republican strongholds in the state — voted not to certify and instead delay their final decision until the last possible moment. If the counties fail to certify their election in time, Arizona state officials have indicated that they will go to court to force a certification, or all of the county’s ballots shall be discarded. If not resolved, the challenges could cause issues with Arizona’s scheduled statewide certification on December 5th.

GOP operatives and officials have been seized on issues with a subset of ballot printers at in-person voting centers in Arizona to pressure county officials to act on allegations of fraud and misconduct. According to Maricopa County officials, fewer than 1% of ballots cast in the election were affected by the problem. Cochise country heard from three conspiracy theorists who had filed multiple baseless lawsuits in Arizona attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 before voting to delay their certification. The petitioners, Tom Rice, Brian Steiner and Daniel Wood, allege that ballot counting machines in the state were improperly certified, a claim Elections Director Kori Lorick has categorically denied.

Arizona’s Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich, released a public statement demanding Maricopa County address various GOP complaints regarding the administration of the elections. In response the county released a report Sunday stating that issues with printers did not prevent Arizonan’s from casting their ballots. Tom Liddy, the Republican head of Maricopa County’s civil division, attached a letter to the report addressing the attorney general’s allegations point by point.

An investigation by the Associated Press found that election certifications in most states were conducted “smoothly” and with “few complaints.” Despite this the former president has seized on Lake’s loss to revive his own conspiratorial claims. As previously reported by Rolling Stone, Trump had been making preparations amongst supporters and allies to challenge the results of the midterms months before they took place. The conspiracy mongering and allegations of fraud would likely have been much more widespread had Trump backed candidates not floundered in major elections across the country.

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