Kari Lake, the Trump-backed Republican candidate who lost the 2022 Arizona governor’s race to Democrat Katie Hobbs, fell short because tens of thousands of Maricopa County voters cast ballots for other Republicans, but not her, according to a report by the Arizona Republic.
The election was a highly contentious one, with Hobbs refusing to debate Lake over the Republican’s promotion of former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud in the 2020 election, Lake sparring with multiple reporters over her election denialism and her refusal to say she would accept the election results unless she won.
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).
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.
But according to the Republic, Lake’s loss boils down to the fact that she alienated vast swaths of her fellow Republicans, pointing to a recent analysis of the public voting records to identify the “disaffected voters” who support the majority of candidates from one political party but cast a vote for the opposing party in a specific race.
“The numbers show that while Lake claims she lost because of printer problems or other issues in Maricopa County,” wrote the Republic’s Mary Jo Pitzl, “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”:
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.
If those voters had stuck with the GOP ticket, Lake would have won. She lost by 17,117 votes statewide.
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