Arizona attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh sues over election results


PHOENIX — Abe Hamadeh, the Republican candidate for attorney general in Arizona, on Tuesday sued his Democratic opponent and a wide range of state and county officials in a bid to block certification of his loss and force them to declare him the winner in the Nov. 8 contest.

His race, in which he trailed Democrat Kris Mayes by just 510 votes, was already headed to a mandatory recount, triggered when no more than 0.5 percent separates the two candidates. Hamadeh argued that the election was mishandled in a way that made a difference to the outcome.

The state’s tally gave him 1,254,102 votes and 1,254,612 to Mayes, a former chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates public utilities. Earlier on Tuesday, Mayes said she felt “confident that the end result will be the same” and predicted that the process would conclude by Christmas. “As this race should show everyone across the country, every single vote matters,” she told reporters.

Republican election denier candidates lost key statewide races in the 2022 midterm elections, even as denier ranks swelled in Congress. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

With Republican candidates falling to Democrats in the state’s most critical contests, the razor-thin margin in the race for attorney general has taken center stage. The attorney general is the chief law enforcement officer for state government, with the power to enforce election laws that could affect the administration of the 2024 presidential election.

The attorney general also has expansive investigatory authority, which the current attorney general, Republican Mark Brnovich, has wielded against local officials and their administration of the 2020 presidential election.

The Republican National Committee joined Hamadeh, a former prosecutor and U.S. Army captain, in his lawsuit, which was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court. The defendants named include Mayes and Katie Hobbs, the Democratic secretary of state and governor-elect, in addition to the county recorders and boards of supervisors in all of Arizona’s 15 counties.

The suit asks the court to issue an injunction preventing the secretary of state from certifying Mayes as the winner and requiring her to declare Hamadeh the winner. It also asks that the court order the various county officials to correct procedural and tabulation errors it claims they made and amend the final vote count, which it argues will make the Republican the winner.

Dan Barr, an attorney for Mayes, said the Democrat will ask the court to dismiss the complaint, which he called “devoid of actual facts.”

“It does not plausibly allege that mistakes in the administration of the election actually occurred, and if they did occur, that they would have made any difference in the result,” Barr said.

A spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office said the office’s legal counsel is reviewing the lawsuit and preparing a response.

“The Office believes the lawsuit is legally baseless and factually speculative,” the spokesperson said in a statement to The Washington Post. “None of the claims raised warrant the extraordinary remedy of changing the election results and overturning the will of Arizona voters.”

Notably, Hamadeh’s suit opens with a statement that he and the RNC “are not, by this lawsuit, alleging any fraud, manipulation or other intentional wrongdoing.” It is focused specifically on the race for attorney general, not other statewide contests, such as the governor’s race, in which Republican Kari Lake has refused to concede. The difference separating her and Hobbs is well outside the margin for an automatic recount. Still, Lake’s campaign has argued that the results should not be certified, vowing to “get justice for the people of Arizona.” Counties must certify results by Nov. 28, and state certification is set for Dec. 5.

Lake, a former television news anchor, has not taken her claims to court, as…

Read More: Arizona attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh sues over election results

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