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Appeals court rejects Kari Lake's challenge of election loss to Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs

The ruling is the latest in a string of legal defeats for Lake, a prominent election denier and ally of former President Donald Trump.
Kari Lake
Kari Lake sued in December challenging certification of the state’s election results.LM Otero / AP file

An appeals court Thursday rejected Republican Kari Lake’s challenge of her election loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs in the 2022 Arizona governor's race.

The three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling that said Lake had not provided evidence to support her claims that the November results were tainted by illegal votes and misconduct by election officials.

Chief Judge Kent E. Cattani wrote Thursday that the evidence presented earlier to the Superior Court in Maricopa County “ultimately supports the court’s conclusion that voters were able to cast their ballots, that votes were counted correctly, and that no other basis justifies setting aside the election results.”

Hobbs defeated Lake by 17,117 votes.

Lake, a prominent election denier and Trump ally, had filed a 70-page lawsuit in December seeking a court order declaring her the winner. It was ultimately denied by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson.

In her appeal, Lake argued that Thompson had erred by requiring she provide proof that her allegations of official misconduct affected the election results.

Cattani, however, agreed that Lake needed to provide "competent mathematical basis to conclude that the outcome would plausibly have been different, not simply an untethered assertion of uncertainty."

The appeals court opinion also addressed one of Lake's chief assertions — that ballot printers had been compromised and that on-site tabulators had failed to read some ballots — by saying the lower court had offered ample evidence to support a conclusion that the ballot printer and tabulator issues stemmed from “mechanical functions that were ultimately remedied.”

"Lake’s claim thus boils down to a suggestion that election-day issues led to long lines at vote centers, which frustrated and discouraged voters, which allegedly resulted in a substantial number of predominately Lake voters not voting," Cattani wrote. "But Lake’s only purported evidence that these issues had any potential effect on election results was, quite simply, sheer speculation."

A federal judge late last year sanctioned lawyers for Lake and fellow Republican Mark Finchem, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for secretary of state, over an election-related lawsuit.

NBC News reported Thursday that a legal group was planning to file bar complaints against four lawyers representing Lake in voter fraud litigation.