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In The Bunker With Kari Lake
Oh wait, that's loser Kari Lake.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs was projected last night to be the next governor of Arizona, narrowly edging out rightwing election liar Kari Lake, who true to form hasn't conceded, as if anyone cares. Instead, Lake tweeted "Arizonans know BS when they see it," and the jokes wrote themselves.
“Arizonans know BS when they see it.”
— Kari Lake (@Kari Lake) 1668482750
That's definitely what the vote totals seemed to indicate, so after Maricopa County released a final big tranche of results from absentee ballots that were turned in on Election Day, the AP called the race for Hobbs, determining that her lead couldn't be overcome by any outstanding ballots in Arizona. Lake's defeat makes her the last of the big-time election deniers endorsed by Donald Trump in the midterms to fail to gain a governorship. Naturally, Trump is widely expected to build on that string of embarrassments by announcing his 2024 candidacy for president today.
With impeccable timing, a few hours before the race was called, the Washington Post published one of those "insider" accounts (free gift linky) about the chatter and goings-on in Lake's campaign "war room" at a Scottsdale resort, where her top advisers have been meeting to plan out what comes next — initially, the goal was to shape a transition, but increasingly the focus became figuring out how to spin Lake's loss.
We learn that the mood over the last week has "shifted ... from giddy anticipation to grim resignation, discussions have centered on how Lake should speak about a loss" and that a parade of Trumpist celebrities came to visit and kibitz:
Among those who have made appearances are some of the biggest names in Trump’s orbit, including Stephen K. Bannon and Christina Bobb, a former One America News anchor who aided a review of 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County after the 2020 election. Trump himself called in on Sunday.
Discussions have ranged from how Lake could acknowledge a loss to whether she should adopt Trump’s playbook and claim the election was stolen from her. Some want her message to center on problems with printers on Election Day that affected 30 percent of polling sites.
The printer problems were fairly minor — they printed out ballots that were too light to be optically scanned, but the issue was fixed fairly quickly, and voters in Maricopa County are allowed to vote at any polling place, not limited to a specific precinct. The story, based on multiple anonymous sources who were in the know, said that many people in Lake's war room were angry about the error but also cautioned Lake not to insist the results were fraudulent. One said, "Nobody is advocating to go storm the castle," which means that even wingnuts have seen a Rob Reiner movie.
People around Lake have told her it would not be in her best interest to claim the election was stolen. They have also warned of possible harm to Arizona, and the country more broadly, if the state became home to a resurgent “Stop the Steal” movement. Others have cautioned against disrupting the ongoing count and decided that there is little the campaign can meaningfully do to change the outcome.
That said, "current and former aides" point out that Lake tends to rely mostly on her own instincts, like the Great Man, and may go full Deny the Vote, so we'll have to wait a little to see whether she concedes she lost, insists she was robbed and does nothing, or heads to court with a load of nonsense claims that evil Democrats — or worse, RINOs, since the Maricopa elections are run by Republicans — rigged the voting machines to steal the election for Hobbes. The Post notes that, despite Lake's claims that the printer issues only occurred in heavily Republican parts of the county, the average GOP registration in the affected areas is "about 37 percent, [...] virtually the same as the share of registered Republicans across the county, which stands at 35 percent."
Also, let's note that these expert election frauders aren't very good at frauding, since they totally forgot to rig the elections against Republicans running for the US House of Representatives, where they have won six of the state's nine congressional districts. Such lazy election stealers — denying Lake the governorship, but not giving the House to Democrats for another two years when they had the chance.
Mostly, the story describes the Lake team growing more resigned about the numbers, although Lake and her people did enjoy taking that call from Trump, who "expressed disbelief that the Republican candidates were losing, according to three people with knowledge of the call." We also get a list of various election liars who have wandered in and out of the war room, like already-loser Mark Finchem, who lost his race for Arizona secretary of state and has since
refused to concede, tweeting conspiracy theories about George Soros, the Jewish financier and donor to Democratic causes, and Sam Bankman-Fried, the cryptocurrency investor and Democratic donor whose business empire has crumbled in recent days.
Why, yes, Finchem is trying to raise money off his loss, so he can fight back and win, yadda yadda.
We were honestly hoping for a lot more insider drama from Lake's bunker, or Bunk House maybe. But at least Liz Cheney had a nice note for Lake, tweeting "You're welcome" with an attached late-October letter Lake sent Cheney "thanking" her for running ads against Lake, which Lake claimed had given her a 10-point boost in polling. (No, polls showed Lake and Hobbs virtually tied, with only small leads for Lake at best.)
“You’re welcome, @KariLake.”
— Liz Cheney (@Liz Cheney) 1668478644
Congratulations to Gov.-elect Hobbs, and we're certain Lake will surely come to her senses and not spend the next four years insisting she's the real governor of Arizona. How ridiculous would that be?
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