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Kari Lake has ties to several fake electors who tried to overturn 2020 election results

The Arizona gubernatorial candidate has close ties to eight of the 11 people named as ‘alternate’ electors in attempts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

By Emily Singer - September 22, 2022
Kari Lake, Republican candidate for Arizona governor, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022.
FILE - Kari Lake, Republican candidate for Arizona governor, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Democrat Katie Hobbs on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, declined to agree to a televised debate with Lake as both seek the Arizona governor's office, instead proposing individual interviews with the moderator.

Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake is closely aligned with several of the 11 “fake electors” who were part of efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona in favor of Donald Trump, according to a review by the American Independent Foundation.

According to the review, Lake has publicly supported, received endorsements from, or accepted campaign contributions from eight of the 11. These supposed “electors” were chosen by Trump campaign officials and several Republican groups in various states to list as “alternate” electors to vote in place of each state’s actual electors. The scheme is currently under federal investigation by both Congress and the Department of Justice.

Among the eight “electors” with ties to Lake is Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward and her husband, Michael Ward. Both Wards endorsed Lake’s bid, and Michael additionally donated $500 to Lake’s campaign, campaign finance records show.

Both Wards also challenged a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee on the January 6 this year calling them to testify. Lake defended their decision to challenge the subpoena in court.

“Leftist Activists in the House are targeting Chairwoman Kelli Ward because she is EFFECTIVE,” Lake claimed in a tweet in February.

Two others purporting to be electors, Nancy Cottle and Loraine Pellegrino, were also subpoenaed by the Committee. Cottle and Pellegrino were named as “chair” and “secretary” in documents that Republicans attempted to submit on behalf of the state.

“Nancy Cottle & Loraine Pellegrino are Patriots & champions of the Arizona grassroots,” Lake tweeted after the subpoena was issued. “The Sham commission will find that they don’t scare easily. I unequivocally stand beside these women and against this unconstitutional assault on conservative thought & expression.”

Another fake elector, Tyler Bowyer, is the chief operating officer of the right-wing group Turning Point USA, which seeks to recruit young people into the conservative movement.

Bowyer personally posted messages recruiting people to work on Lake’s campaign, which the Arizona Republic reported has “raised suspicion” that Turning Point USA may have illegally coordinated with her campaign.

Lake touted endorsements from three of the other fake electors:

Lake’s relationship with the fake electors aligns with her continuous denial that Joe Biden won the state of Arizona in the 2020 presidential election, or that he won the election at all.

She has long supported Trump’s “stolen election” conspiracy, continues to falsely contends that Trump is the true winner of the 2020 election, and threatened to jail those who certified and support the final election results — including Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs, her Democratic opponent in the race for governor. Lake has also advocated to change voting procedures, bringing a lawsuit in attempts to bar Arizona election officials from using electronic vote counters — which failed.

Hobbs leads Lake by 3.4 points in major polling, according to an average determined by FiveThirtyEight. Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the contest as an expected toss-up.

“Election deniers like Kari Lake will undo American democracy if we don’t stop them,” Hobbs tweeted on Tuesday. “Arizonans need a governor they can count on to tell them the truth. Not someone who spews conspiracy theories for their own personal gain.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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