The Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arizona, Kari Lake, refused to say whether she would accept the results of the election if she loses in November.
Lake, a former Phoenix-area news anchor, has made denying the 2020 election results that her preferred candidate, Donald Trump, lost a pillar of her campaign. She has said she wouldn’t have certified the 2020 vote that the former president lost – and which the Democratic victor, Joe Biden, won in Arizona by just over 10,000 votes – saying the election was “corrupt, rotten”.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Lake was asked three times by host Dana Bash whether she would accept the results of next month’s election. She avoided the question twice, before saying she would accept it if she won.
“I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result,” she said. She declined to answer when Bash followed up to ask if she would accept the result if she lost.
“I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result,” she repeated.
Denying the results of the last presidential election has become orthodoxy in Republican politics. On the ballot this fall, 291 Republican nominees – a majority of those running – have denied or questioned the election results, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Arizona is one of several states across the country where Republicans who deny the results of the 2020 election are on the cusp of winning offices in which they would have oversight over how elections are run and play a role in certification. Lake is in a tight race against her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs. Lake has hammered Hobbs recently over her decision not to debate her, and there are grumblings among Arizona Democrats about Hobbs’s campaign.
In addition to Lake, Mark Finchem, a state lawmaker who played a key role in Trump’s failed efforts to overturn his ouster from the Oval Office, is also in a close race. He’s vying to be Arizona’s secretary of state. Finchem, who introduced a resolution to decertify the 2020 election earlier this year, led Democratic candidate Adrian Fontes 49%-45% in a recent CNN poll, which was within the poll’s margin of error. iVote, a group that works to elect Democratic secretaries of state, recently announced it would spend $5m on the race.
Appearing in Arizona recently, Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the January 6 committee, warned voters against backing Lake and Finchem. “They both said that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree with it,” she said.
“We cannot give people power who have told us that they will not honor elections. Elections are the foundation of our republic and peaceful transfers of power are the foundation of our republic.”