Gubernatorial Republican candidate for Arizona Kari Lake says the refusal by her Democratic opponent, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, to recuse herself has generated “problems” as their close contest has yet to be called days after Election Day.
Hobbs, who in her current role acts as the state’s election chief, has faced such calls since at least July 2021. Lake said she and her supporters long ago recognized “that there’s a major ethical problem there.”
“Obviously, just the optics of it looks bad. And she didn’t do that,” Lake told Maria Bartiromo on the latter’s Fox News show, Sunday Morning Futures. “Even though many people been calling for her to recuse herself. It creates problems, to say the least.”
Two days before Election Day, Hobbs said she would not recuse, noting elected secretaries of state have overseen and certified elections where they are on the ballot “since statehood.”
“This has never been an issue until now,” Hobbs said. “I’m not going to recuse myself from the job that the voters elected me to do, and for which I took an oath of office, to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and the constitution and laws of the state of Arizona.”
Arizona residents are still waiting for the governor’s race to be called. Current numbers show Hobbs ahead of Lake with a little more than 34,000 votes, with 88.4% counted. Lake told Fox News that the state could have results anywhere from Monday to later in the week.
Lake said many of the remaining ballots are from “heavy, very heavy Republican areas,” which appears to be backed up by one prominent local data analyst.
A great deal of those votes are from Maricopa County, the most populous county in Arizona where the capital of Phoenix is located. It was ground zero for allegations of fraud in the 2020 election, which nationwide have been roundly rejected by election officials and the courts. There have been problems in the county during the midterm elections, including trouble with tabulators attributed to printer settings.
Lake, who has made election integrity a central tenet of her Trump-backed campaign, said these problems should be a wake-up call.
“It is just — it’s embarrassing. It’s wrong. And we need people who are competent running our elections,” Lake said. “This incompetency or maladministration is outrageous. And I think the good thing is that more people are waking up to the fact that Arizona has real troubles when it comes to elections.”
Arizona’s Senate race was called on Friday. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) defeated Republican challenger Blake Masters, 51.8% to 46.1%. Democratic attorney Adrian Fontes defeated Republican election denier Mark Finchem to become Arizona’s next secretary of state.