On Monday, Democrat Katie Hobbs was sworn in to serve as the 24th Governor of Arizona at a ceremony closed off from the public and media, barring a news photographer. Joining her were other newly elected or re-elected officials, including Kris Mayes (D) for Attorney General, Adrian Fontes (D) for Secretary of State, Kimberly Yee (R) for State Treasurer, and Tom Horne (R) for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The 2022 General Election results show that Hobbs won her race by 17,117 votes. However, her Republican opponent Kari Lake has refused to concede. Lake’s campaign called the system “screwed up” because Arizonans were allegedly disenfranchised in this election, but Hobbs was sworn into office anyway.
How screwed up is a system where over 100,000 Arizonans can be disenfranchised in broad daylight & @katiehobbs can be sworn into office two months later because no one will enforce our laws?
Why is it so easy to commit election fraud & nearly impossible to obtain justice?
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) January 2, 2023
Lake is involved in an ongoing election challenge against Hobbs and Maricopa County. While her case was dismissed by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson following a two-day evidentiary trial, Lake has not given in. Lake filed a motion to appeal Tuesday. Then Sunday, she filed a petition to appeal her case directly to the Arizona Supreme Court.
“We are eager to have the highest court consider our mountain of evidence,” Lake’s campaign tweeted. “The sooner the people of Arizona are provided the legal remedy that they deserve, the sooner [Lake] can begin to put [Arizona first].”
Moreover, a video has begun circulating of Hobbs laughing during her ceremony after being asked to swear she would support the constitution. Lake’s campaign quickly commented on the clip, calling Hobbs an “illegitimate” Governor “laughing in the face of our constitution.”
Katie Hobbs bursting out laughing when she is asked to repeat her support and defense of the Constitution pic.twitter.com/ncPwgqeAra
— Tyler Bowyer (@tylerbowyer) January 2, 2023
“We will expose this fraud for the world to see. Justice is coming. [Hobbs] won’t be laughing then,” the campaign said.
Additionally, Lake is not the only candidate not to concede. In one of the closest races in Arizona history, Republican Abe Hamadeh lost to Kris Mayes by a recorded 280 votes. Before the recount, the difference was 511, with this discrepancy coming from a “human error” in Pinal County. Arizona Daily Independent reported that a potential issue in the county’s tally was known but not by Lake or Hamadeh before they filed election challenges.
Hamadeh’s challenge was also dismissed, but Monday, he stated that more legal action would be coming because of the discrepancy.
“Katie Hobbs in her role of Secretary of State had possession, custody, and control over the evidence of Pinal County’s huge discrepancy and she KNOWINGLY failed to disclose this to me and the court. She intentionally misled the judge,” Hamadeh said. “We will file a legal challenge shortly.”
Furthermore, it is not just losing candidates bashing Hobbs’s swearing-in. Rachel Jones, set to Represent Legislative District 17 in the Arizona House, said she would not accept Hobbs as Arizona’s Governor.
Republicans have a majority in the State House and Senate moving into the next legislative session. The Arizona Sun Times reported that the Senate Republicans are “optimistic” they can still pass “good, common-sense policies” while working under Hobbs. However, the New York Times shared that Hobbs and the state legislature may be at odds. Hobbs stated her relationship with Republican Senate leaders is “strained” and that “she has had no communications with them and does not plan to.”
While it is uncertain how the future will unfold in Arizona, Monday’s ceremony meant saying goodbye to previous leaders. Following the ceremony, former Governor Doug Ducey (R) left office with a simple “thank you, Arizona.”
Watch the entire ceremony here.
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