A state judge dismissed a lawsuit from the Republican candidate for Arizona’s attorney general that challenged the results of the state’s general election, arguing the case was filed prematurely.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall Warner rejected the lawsuit that was brought by GOP candidate Abraham Hamadeh and the Republican National Committee that contested the results of the race for state attorney general, arguing the election was “afflicted with certain errors and inaccuracies” that caused the Republican to lose. However, Warner dismissed the lawsuit on Tuesday, ruling the parties cannot file a lawsuit until the election results are certified by the state.
“Under these statutes there can be no election contest until after the canvass and declaration of results because, until then, no one is ‘declared elected,’” Warner wrote in his ruling. “It is undisputed that the canvass and declaration of results for the November 2022 election have not occurred.”
The state is required to certify its election results by Dec. 5, although that process is being threatened by a rural GOP county that is refusing to certify its votes.
Two Republican supervisors in Cochise County, Arizona, voted to delay the county’s election results until Friday — four days after the state-mandated deadline to certify results by Monday. The vote quickly spurred court battles from state officials as they scramble to certify election results statewide, which requires certified results from all 15 counties.
The refusal to certify the results is certain to delay the attorney general’s race, which is set to undergo a recount once the state canvass is complete. However, that process cannot begin until Cochise County submits its vote tally.
Hamadeh does not need to wait until the recount is complete before filing his lawsuit, Warner noted in his ruling. However, he must wait until the statewide certification is official before he can mount a challenge to the election results. Hamadeh has indicated he will refile the lawsuit after the statewide certification is complete.
The Republican candidate initially filed the suit on Nov. 22, alleging errors and inconsistencies with the way the state conducted its midterm elections that cost Hamadeh the race.
Although Hamadeh and the RNC argue in their lawsuit that they are not seeking to cast doubt on the election results, the parties are requesting a court order that declares Hamadeh the winner of the attorney general’s race despite initial results showing the Republican trailing by more than 500 votes.
The lawsuit quickly drew criticism, including from Hamadeh’s Democratic opponent Kris Mayes, who called it a “fishing expedition to try to undermine Arizona’s election.”