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Ballot Analysis Explains Kari Lake’s Gubernatorial Loss in Arizona Despite Pre-Election Polling

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Heading into November’s gubernatorial election, the vast majority of polling showed Arizona Republican candidate Kari Lake leading with a wide enough margin she should have cruised to victory. But, of course, that’s not what happened.

Lake wound up losing to Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs — who, notably, refused to debate Lake ahead of the election — by about 17,000 votes because, ultimately, some 40,000 voters in Maricopa County, the state’s largest, cast ballots for other Republican candidates but not her, according to an analysis by the Arizona Republic media outlet.

According to Mediate:

The crucial Maricopa County was the scene of some major Election Day drama when dozens of printers at voting centers malfunctioned, printing ballots too light to be properly read by the tabulating machines. County officials remedied the problem, and affected voters had been given the option to either place their ballot in a secure box to be counted later or to go to another nearby voting center (voters were allowed to vote at any voting center of their choice within Maricopa County).

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Still, the Maricopa County printer issues were the subject of an Election Day lawsuit by Lake, the Arizona Republican Party, and several other GOP candidates and organizations, seeking to extend voting hours, and then an election challenge by Lake. Both lawsuits failed, and Hobbs was sworn in as governor on Jan. 2, 2023.

Despite Lake’s claims of voter disenfranchisement in her lawsuits, the Arizona Republic said that her loss “boils down the the fact that she alienated vast swaths of her fellow Republicans,” Mediaite noted, adding that the Arizona outlet relied on a recent analysis of public voting records to single out “disaffected voters” who support a majority of candidates for one party but go on to cast a vote for another party’s candidate in specific races.

“The numbers show that while Lake claims she lost because of printer problems or other issues in Maricopa County, she could have won had she not turned off voters in the state’s most populous county who backed a host of other Republican candidates,” wrote the Republic’s Mary Jo Pitzl.

“Those decisions made a profound difference: Democrat Katie Hobbs picked up the support of 33,000 Maricopa County voters who cast ballots for Republicans in six down-ballot races, such as state treasurer and county attorney. Adding to Lake’s deficit were another nearly 6,000 Republican-leaning voters who opted to skip the race altogether or wrote in a candidate, the analysis found,” according to Pitzl.

“If those voters had stuck with the GOP ticket, Lake would have won. She lost by 17,117 votes statewide,” she added.

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Last week, Lake’s campaign responded to rumors that she is considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Krysten Sinema, who left her party months ago and is now a self-declared Independent, though she still caucuses with Democrats.

“I’m told Kari Lake is considering running for the US Senate seat held by Kyrsten Sinema in 2024,” CNN political reporter Kate Sullivan posted on Twitter.

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But according to Becker News, that isn’t the case at all — at least, not yet.

In a statement to the news site, Lake’s campaign said, “Kari is hyper-focused on winning her court case as she is the duly elected Governor and her Election Case proves that.” Lake is currently attempting to legally address November election issues she says cost her a victory against then-Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who was sworn in as Arizona’s new governor earlier this month.

“Hundreds of thousands of invalid ballots were counted in Maricopa County alone, more than 60% of Election Day voting centers were sabotaged causing lines of 4 hours or more at some locations, the wrong ballot image was printed on Election Day ballots causing tabulators to jam and spit out ballots, 25K ballots were mysteriously added to the official vote count two days after the elections and more than 100K ballots with rejected signatures were counted anyway. That is just a bit of what went wrong in Arizona. Kari Lake is fighting to protect the sacred vote of the People of Arizona,” the statement to Becker News continued.

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“It is true that dozens of people have reached out to Kari suggesting she run for US Senate,” the campaign’s statement continued. “There have been several polls showing she is the strongest candidate and could win. The corruption in DC is as bad as it is in AZ and we need to root out that corruption, but Kari’s focus is on her election case and saving the good people of Arizona from a fraud named Katie Hobbs who is dead set on destroying State 48.”

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