Kari Lake vows to ‘burn it to the ground’ as a judge considers her election lawsuit

Kari Lake's lawyer argued in court why the election should be overturned and she could be made governor.

Kari Lake’s lawyer argued in court why the election should be overturned and she could be made governor.

On Monday, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge heard arguments on whether to toss out Kari Lake’s lawsuit challenging the election.

So naturally, on Sunday Lake had a message for Maricopa County and the “crooks” who run elections.

“They have built a house of cards here in Maricopa County,” she told supporters at a Turning Point USA event. “I think they’re all wondering what I’m gonna do. I’ll tell you what, I’m not just gonna knock that house of cards over. We’re going to burn it to the ground.”

Burn it to the ground?

My guess – after listening to her attorney explain the many reasons why the election should be overturned – is that Lake may as well reach for her matches.

Lake’s attorney claims an election worker conspiracy

During Monday’s hearing on whether to dismiss her lawsuit, Lake’s attorney, Washington, DC-based Kurt Olsen, detailed the “chaos and mayhem” that denied Lake her due on Election Day.

Olsen told Judge Peter Thompson that hundreds of thousands of illegal votes were counted and that up to nearly 30,000 Lake supporters were disenfranchised by long lines on Election Day.

He claimed that Maricopa County election workers and third-party contract workers at Runbeck Elections Services rigged the election. Those nearly two-year-old tweets removed from Twitter cost Lake votes. That Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer had it in for her. This, because he formed a PAC to back county and legislative candidates in GOP primaries – the ones who accepted the results of the 2020 election.

“This was a systemic failure,” Olsen told Judge Peter Thompson.

Olsen threw in everything but the kitchen sink to try to get the judge to keep Lake’s lawsuit alive.

What he didn’t offer up was any real evidence that shows she would have won. Lake lost to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs by 17,117 votes.

“If there’s anything rotten here … it’s candidates who cannot accept they lost,” Abha Khanna, a Seattle-based attorney representing Hobbs, countered.

Hobbs’ attorneys quickly dispelled that notion

Khanna and other attorneys defending the state and county made quick work of Lake’s most serious claims. Consider:

  • Lake says three people who worked on verifying early ballot signatures believe that up to 30% to 40% of those ballots should have been rejected. But lawyers defending the election pointed out that that would be an unprecedented rejection rate and noted that ballots initially flagged for possible mismatches are usually accepted after further checking.

  • Lake says the fact that 25,000 ballots were added to the vote count a day or two after the election is proof of illegal ballots. But the county points out that the original total turnout offered was only an estimate – one that turned out to be low due to the record number of early ballots brought to the polls on Election Day.

  • Lake contends that up to nearly 30,000 of her supporters were unable to vote. She bases this on a partisan pollster who interviewed 813 Maricopa County voters who cast ballots and from that announced that anywhere from 15,603 to 29,257 Kari Lake supporters did not get to vote.

  • Lake points to a “secret censorship operation” that allowed Hobbs’ office to flag tweets, which were then removed from Twitter. But those tweets – which dealt with “election misinformation” – were flagged a day after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and had nothing to do with Lake or her loss nearly two years later.

Here’s what Lake’s attorneys didn’t offer:

Any actual evidence of any actual people who were denied their right to vote.

Or any actual evidence of fake voters who were allowed to cast phony ballots.

Only 3 who claimed harm did not vote

She produced sworn declarations from more than 200 voters who claimed they were harmed by Maricopa County’s Election Day problems. But of those, the county says only three did not vote and that was their own choice.

Declining to wait in line or put your ballot in a box, to be counted later, is not evidence of disenfranchised voters.

“A Republican today who claims he or she couldn’t find a parking space to vote, as one of the affiants said, or I didn’t want to vote in the 26 days prior to the election and the lines were too long or anybody who would claim that a printer malfunction of 70 out of 223 is voter suppression is insulting to this court,” Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Tom Liddy said, asking the judge to dismiss the lawsuit. “It’s insulting to African Americans.”

Key facts:What’s disputed in Kari Lake’s election challenge

Olsen countered that the people have a right to see the evidence that Lake was robbed.

“This,” he said, “is about restoring trust in our election system.”

I certainly agree that trust needs to be restored, given the trend of losing candidates who pitch a fit from coast to coast about the many ways in which they were robbed.

Fortunately, we’re already seeing the restoration of normalcy.

Other lawsuits got the boot. Lake’s should, too

On Friday, a Mohave County Superior Court judge threw out Sen. Sonny Borrelli’s wild claims that Lake’s election was stolen by artificial intelligence supposedly used to verify early ballot signatures. (The county says AI was not used to verify signatures.)

Also on Friday, Maricopa County Superior Court Melissa Julian tossed out Mark Finchem’s lawsuit, claiming all manner of nefarious activity in denying him the secretary of state’s post. Finchem lost by 120,208 votes to Adrian Fontes.

“None of these alleged acts constitute ‘misconduct’ sufficient to survive dismissal,” Julian wrote.

She then granted a request for sanctions – a signal that Finchem’s lawsuit was a waste of time.

Judge Thompson should do the same.

If we’re going to “restore trust,” then it ought to start with a demand that losing candidates deal not in threats and temper tantrums but in actual evidence.

Thompson could rule at any minute on the motion to throw out Lake’s lawsuit.

My suggestion: Keep your fire extinguisher handy.

Reach Roberts at laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kari Lake lobs another threat if she doesn’t become governor