By Jack Phillips
Arizona Republican candidate Kari Lake said her Democrat opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, created a “major ethical problem” for not recusing herself as she runs for governor.
“We called for her to recuse herself July of last year of 2021, right after we got into the race, recognizing that there’s a major ethical problem there. Obviously, just the optics of it looks bad. And she didn’t do that,” Lake, a former local TV anchor, told Fox News on Sunday morning. “Even though many people been calling for her to recuse herself,” she added, “it creates problems to say the least.”
According to election data, Hobbs is leading Lake by more than 30,000 ballots with 88 percent of the vote counted as of Sunday. Officials in Maricopa County, the state’s largest county, have drawn considerable criticism after voting tabulators suffered problems on Election Day and for taking nearly a week to count ballots.
Former President Donald Trump on social media called for a do-over of the midterm elections in the state.
Blake Masters, the Republican candidate for Arizona’s Senate seat, told Fox News on Friday that “the most honest thing at this point would be for Maricopa County to wipe the slate clean” and “just take all the ballots and do a fresh count.” That came before some outlets called the race for his opponent, Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly.
Hobbs, meanwhile, is the state’s top election official. During interviews earlier this year, Hobbs said she would not recuse herself despite former Arizona secretaries of state saying she should.
“She will be the one that would certify the election,” Lake said on Sunday. “She has a lot to do with registration, voter registration, all kinds of things … voter rolls and advising counties on how many ballots they’ll need.”
But several weeks ago in a CNN interview, Hobbs said that ” secretaries of state in Arizona have overseen elections where they’re on the ballot since statehood” and “has never been an issue until now.”
Former Arizona Secretaries of State Richard Mahoney, a Democrat, and Ken Bennett, a Republican, both called on Hobbs to recuse herself, according to Time magazine.
“I think it would be wise if the secretary of state seconded responsibility for ministerial oversight to either the attorney general or the Maricopa County recorder,” Mahoney told the outlet. And Bennett added that she should have allowed “a deputy secretary or somebody else” to oversee the election so as to not create the appearance of a conflict of interest.