In Arizona, Hamadeh and Lake launch 2024 campaigns as their 2022 election lawsuits march on

Both Abe Hamadeh and Kari Lake are continuing with their lawsuits about potential 2022 election "irregularities" as they run for different offices in 2024.

Published: October 20, 2023 11:00pm

Updated: October 20, 2023 11:37pm

Abe Hamadeh and Kari Lake have launched their respective 2024 campaigns for the House of Representatives and the Senate as their lawsuits over the 2022 Arizona election results continue.

On Tuesday, former Arizona GOP Attorney General nominee Hamadeh announced his run for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District. He declared his candidacy hours after Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., announced she would not seek reelection to her seat.

Hamadeh declared his bid for Congress just a week following Lake’s announcement that she was running for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat. Lake was the GOP gubernatorial nominee last year but fell about 17,000 votes short in the official count for the election against now-Gov. Katie Hobbs (D).

Lake is currently running against Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb for the Republican nomination. According to Lamb's official website, he refers to himself as "a constitutional conservative" and says he is a "strong supporter" of 2nd Amendment rights and "fighting illegal immigration."

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., announced his campaign for the Senate seat earlier this year and Democrat-turned-Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is expected to run for reelection but has not yet announced. Gallego is supported by Act Blue, a fundraising enterprise dedicated to financing "progressive" and far-left candidates. In the 2006 midterm election cycle alone, ActBlue raised $17 million for Democratic Party candidates, and sent $36,000 to the campaign of pro-Palestinian Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Mich.

Hamadeh and the Republican National Committee are still involved in a lawsuit against his 2022 election opponent, Democratic Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, to ensure all votes were counted in their midterm election contest last year, which Hamadeh lost by just 280 votes, according to an automatic statewide recount.

The GOP attorney general nominee previously had a trial in December regarding his election, but it was before the recount results were announced in his race, which shrunk the margin of victory for his opponent. His legal team has argued that the results — which then-Secretary of State Hobbs knew before trial — were withheld from the court.

Hamadeh is asking for a new trial to count the provisional ballots and prove that he won the election.

The defendants in the case argue that Hobbs wasn’t allowed to disclose the results of the recount before the court overseeing the recount announced them.

In August, Hamadeh’s request to the Arizona Supreme Court to expedite review of his case was denied. The denial means that he must go through the normal appeals process. Hamadeh has since filed his appeal with the intermediate Arizona Court of Appeals, according to his legal counsel and former Arizona Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright. The appeals court has agreed to an expedited consideration of the case but could rescind it “after the appeal is fully briefed,” Wright told Just the News on Thursday.

She also said that Hamadeh's case will likely take another year to be resolved.

“Because the Supreme Court chose not to do special actions, it’s an ordinary appeal,” Wright said, noting that it isn’t “as quick” as Lake’s appeals have been. She added that it might not be until March 2024 that a court will make a decision about a new trial for Hamadeh, and that any ruling could be appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Wright said that there is “no downside for running for Congress at this point” for Hamadeh. She explained that if he wins the GOP congressional primary before a decision is made in his case, and then the court decides that he was elected attorney general in the 2022 election, he could take the attorney general position and the state Republican Party would then choose their congressional candidate for the general election.

However, Wright said that the “most difficult outcome” would be if Hamadeh wins the lawsuit after winning the general election, because then Hobbs would get to choose a person to fill whichever position Hamadeh chooses not to take.

She added that Hamadeh “had an unexpected opportunity” to run for the seat in the congressional district that he grew up in and that she believes “he’d make a great congressman” if it doesn’t “work out” for him in the attorney general election lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Lake has a few lawsuits related to her election. On Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Lake’s lawsuit that challenged the use of electronic voting machines in Arizona. She originally filed the lawsuit with former Arizona Secretary of State GOP nominee Mark Finchem in April 2022.

In the circuit court’s ruling, it said that Lake’s and Finchem’s lawsuit didn’t show “a plausible inference that their individual votes in future elections will be adversely affected by the use of electronic tabulation, particularly given the robust safeguards in Arizona law, the use of paper ballots, and the post-tabulation retention of those ballots.”

Since losing to Hobbs, Lake has contested the results of the 2022 election in court, arguing that thousands of Republican voters were disenfranchised on Election Day when voting machine errors occurred in at least 60% of the voting centers in Maricopa County.

A case that is directly related to Lake’s election loss against Hobbs is currently before the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Lake filed her opening brief with the appeals court last month, alleging that there were numerous irregularities in the 2022 general election in Maricopa County and requesting a new election be ordered. The case alleges that there were misconfigured and defective ballots printed in Maricopa County, that ballot tabulators in the county were falsely certified for logic and accuracy testing, and that the county didn’t follow its own rules or the secretary of state’s rules for ballot signature verification.

The defendants in the case — Hobbs, Maricopa County, and Secretary of State Adrian Fontes — didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.

Lake’s other case is a public records lawsuit over ballot affidavit envelopes in Maricopa County. That case, which was heard by the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County last month, was filed after a public records request was denied that Lake submitted in March for ballot affidavit envelopes from the 2022 general election. Lake wants to review the envelopes, which voters sign when casting mail-in ballots. The purpose of that requirement is to determine if the signatures match voters’ signatures that are on file with the county.

The Maricopa County’s Recorders Office argued the ballot affidavit signatures are part of the voter registration record and are deemed confidential by state law with some exceptions, which they say Lake doesn't meet.

In a video clip posted on her X account (formerly Twitter) on Saturday, Lake said that she is following through with her lawsuits as she runs for Senate.

“I’m continuing along with my court cases. We want to have secure elections. This is not a Republican issue, it’s a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent — it’s an American issue. And so I vow to continue forward with my cases,” Lake said.

She also noted on The Charlie Kirk Show on Tuesday that the cases are slowly moving ahead.

“Our court cases are trudging along and moving slowly. But that’s what they want, they want us stuck in court and they want to stop our movement,” Lake said, referring to her political opposition. “And I can't allow that to happen, our movement is too strong.”

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