A lot of conservatives were impressed with the race that Republican Kari Lake ran for Arizona governor — particularly by the way she called out the media. The way I saw it, it was Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, only with less violence.
Arizonans were not as impressed, a fact that we all have to acknowledge at this point. Lake lost narrowly despite holding a lead in most polls and several apparent advantages, including her opponent’s cowardice. Sometimes that just happens.
Now Lake is suing to overcome her 17,000-vote loss and making noises as if the election was rigged. She is only making a fool of herself. By her own account on Twitter, she is suing to “find out” whether some kind of fraud cost her the election. In short, this is a fishing expedition without any hope of catching anything based on conspiracy theories that tens of thousands of illegal votes were counted.
Lake is turning herself into a Republican sore loser version of Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, who also ran for governor against a sitting secretary of state and also alleged a conspiracy theory on his part to rig the outcome. The only difference here, aside from the fact that Abrams lost by three times as many votes, is that Lake will not get the warm national media reception given to Democratic election denialists, such as Abrams, House Democratic Leader-elect Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Jimmy Carter, and Hillary Clinton.
Election lawsuits can be appropriate in some cases, but Lake’s 70-page lawsuit will accomplish no more than the failed federal lawsuit that Abrams brought after her loss. Although election officials in Arizona did make mistakes and have admitted at least to some of them, the most prominent one was fixed, and even that one was not on a scale that would come close to overturning Lake’s loss. There is no plausible explanation for why Lake should be entitled to have an entire election thrown out on her behalf.
The reason she lost isn’t a conspiracy — it’s the fact that she underperformed Republican candidates down the ballot, including candidates for the House and the Republican incumbent who won reelection as state treasurer. And although Lake got a higher vote total than Republican attorney general candidate Abraham Hamadeh, she lost by a much larger margin. Hamadeh lost by only about 500 votes, which is the territory where maybe an election lawsuit makes some sense and could even overturn the outcome under the right circumstances.
But no, I’m sorry, you can’t just declare yourself the winner when the counting is all done and you finished 17,000 votes behind your opponent. And although you can file a lawsuit, it isn’t going to change anything when you lost by that much.
Republicans need to rethink voting for candidates who refuse to accept election outcomes when they have clearly lost their races. Nobody likes a sore loser, and nobody wants to make the same jokes in 2026 about Lake running for reelection as the not-governor of Arizona because it won’t be as funny as when we did it for Abrams.