Donald Trump loyalist and prominent vote-waiver Kari Lake has lost her bid for Arizona governor, US networks predicted Monday, capping a difficult week for the former president as he prepared for a new run for the White House.
Lake, a former TV host, was considered one of Trump’s most reliable picks for the midterms, but her defeat caps a series of results that cast doubt on the former president’s place in the Republican Party.
The predictions come after a week of intense scrutiny of vote counting in Arizona, where Lake and her supporters have repeatedly expressed doubts about officials’ competence and integrity.
“Democracy is worth the wait,” tweeted Lake’s opponent, Democrat Katie Hobbs.
“Thank you Arizona. I am so honored and so proud to be your next Governor.”
Democracy is worth the wait.
Thank you Arizona
I am so honored and so proud to be your next governor. pic.twitter.com/O6ZFSHbIBe
— Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) November 15, 2022
But Lake, who has built her brand on skepticism of the mainstream media and political establishment, appeared to dismiss the projections.
“Arizonans know BS when they see it,” she tweeted, using a euphemism for nonsense.
– refusal to vote –
If confirmed by election officials, Hobbs’ victory would spell the end of a bitter campaign that Lake joined in earnest when she quit local broadcast journalism last year.
Marrying her made-for-TV smile with the flame-throwing political style of Trumpism, the former presenter wowed her party’s Make America Great Again wing.
She made denial of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election a central tenet of her campaign and said that if she had been at the governor’s mansion at the time, she would not have confirmed his victory.
Her scathing attacks on journalists and poll officials, including Republicans who run key departments in hotly contested Maricopa County, won her grassroots acclaim.
But they also prompted warnings that she was stirring up trouble in a country still reeling from Trump supporters’ attack on the Capitol in January 2021.
Democratic National Convention Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted his congratulations to Hobbs Monday along with the phrase, “Reason wins!”
Hobbs thanked voters after their predicted victory.
“For the Arizonans who didn’t vote for me, I will work just as hard for you – because I believe that even in this moment of division, there is so much more that connects us,” she said in one of US media quoted statement.
Trump, who is expected to announce his entry into the 2024 White House race on Tuesday, took to his platform Truth Social to denounce the call.
“Wow! They just took the election away from Kari Lake. It’s really bad out there!” he wrote without explaining who “they” were.
– Test –
Lake had said she was “100 percent sure” that she would prevail, but – in keeping with Trump’s playbook – had spent a lot of energy sowing doubts about the electoral system.
Advocates seized on minor problems with voting machines in Maricopa County, home to America’s fifth-largest city Phoenix, that left some people waiting in short lines last Tuesday.
Officials have been adamant that no legitimate vote would be ruled out and launched a well-organized campaign on social media to crack down on untruths circulating online as the count methodically progressed.
Arizona has been under intense scrutiny for two years since Biden clinched a narrow victory in the state.
Maricopa County became ground zero for refusers who made unsubstantiated claims about ballot filling despite repeated investigations that found no evidence of wrongdoing.
The Arizona slow count was the subject of national — and international — fascination this week as it became increasingly clear that election deniers in the United States had fared poorly.
Lake was considered a leading light in the movement, and Republican Party insiders — as well as media pundits — have noted that regardless of the outcome, she could be well suited for a spot on a future White House ticket.
© Agence France-Presse