After spending months telling lies about fraudulent elections and appearing on the programs of insurrectionists, QAnon extremists, and other election liars, Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is on the verge of winning her primary election.
According to Fox News, which in 2020 was the first to call the state of Arizona for Joe Biden, Lake’s primary race is too close to call as of Wednesday morning. The New York Times showed Lake ahead by about 2 percentage points as of 1:59 p.m.
Right up to the night before the election, Lake was spewing unfounded claims of fraud in her race and other elections around the country. NBC News correspondent Vaughn Hillyard confronted Lake on Monday night, pressing her about her election lies.
Lake also reportedly told a Republican organization in late July that “we’re already detecting some stealing going on,” later repeating the unsubstantiated claim on a radio show. The chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors called her claim “beyond irresponsible,” adding: “If they're holding on to information, they need to turn it over right away.”
Lake has been spreading these and other election lies for a long time, especially on extremist right-wing media outlets. She has repeatedly pushed the debunked “Sharpiegate” conspiracy theory and was a vocal proponent of the pointless Arizona election audit.
- Lake appeared multiple times on the War Room podcast hosted by Steve Bannon, a key figure implicated by the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. She used her appearances on the program to call for election audits “in every county in Arizona” and falsely claim that Biden “did not win the election.” She also called for the illegal decertification of Biden’s electoral victory in Arizona. Lake appeared on the show the day before the primary elections and claimed elections in her state are “rotten.” On Tuesday, Election Day, Lake thanked Bannon for promoting her on his show.
- Days before her primary, Lake appeared on a QAnon show where she asked viewers to donate to her campaign and vote for her. The hosts also endorsed her; invoked the QAnon conspiracy theory’s central figure and mentioned other QAnon figures; and seemingly bragged that her interview showed the influence of the “anons.”
- As of July 18, Lake had also appeared on the far-right One American News Network more than 25 times since she announced her gubernatorial campaign in June 2021. She repeatedly pushed election lies during her appearances on the channel.
- Lake continued to cast doubt about election integrity during Fox News appearances. During a June 27 appearance on Special Report she claimed that “we had a fraudulent election, a corrupt election,” and repeatedly pushed other claims of a fraudulent election, according to Nexis transcripts. On July 24, she was interviewed by Fox host Maria Bartiromo, one of the right-wing cable channel’s most extreme election conspiracy theorists, who gave her a softball interview and neglected to discuss Lake’s vast history of false claims of electoral fraud.