Kari Lake, Trump's Pick for Arizona Governor, Says She Wouldn't Have Certified Biden's Win

Kari Lake, a Republican running to become the next governor of Arizona who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, said that she wouldn't have certified Joe Biden's win in Arizona, even as the GOP-backed audit upheld his victory.

Lake, a former news anchor in Phoenix, said people have "witnessed things that were wrong" with the election while appearing on the right-wing network One America News.

"Considering how much already at the time information we had about serious irregularities and problems with the election, I would not have certified it right then," Lake said.

Lake is running in a crowded primary field that has attracted notable Republican candidates including Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee and former Congressman Matt Salmon. Incumbent GOP Governor Doug Ducey is not eligible to run for a third consecutive term.

A September poll showed Lake leading the GOP field with 25 percent, though more than half of voters said they were unsure who they would vote for.

Kari Lake
Kari Lake, the Arizona gubernatorial candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump, said she would not have certified the 2020 presidential results. Here, Lake speaks in a Phoenix rally on July 24, 2021. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Whoever wins the nomination will face a Democrat in what is expected to be one of the most competitive gubernatorial races in 2022. Katie Hobbs, the Arizona secretary of state, is considered the favorite in the Democratic primary.

Trump endorsed Lake last week, saying in a statement, "She is a fantastic person who spent many years working as a highly respected television anchor and journalist. Because of this, few can take on the Fake News Media like Kari. She is strong on Crime, will protect our Border, Second Amendment, Military, and Vets, and will fight to restore Election Integrity (both past and future!)."

Arizona is one of several swing states where Republicans have pushed for election audits following the 2020 presidential election, based on unproven claims the election was stolen from Trump.

The audit targeted the state's largest county, Maricopa. It had long been considered a Republican stronghold, but Biden flipped it in 2020 in part due to his strength among suburban voters. His victory in Maricopa County allowed him to flip the state blue for the first time in decades.

Biden won Arizona with 49.36 percent of the votes, compared to Trump's 49.06 percent.

The audit's results were released in late September and upheld Biden's narrow victory in Maricopa County. In fact, it gave Biden an extra 99 votes—up from 1,040,774 to 1,040,873.

Still, some Republicans, including the former president, have falsely claimed the audit proved the election was stolen.

Other Republicans, including Ducey, have defended the election results. Ducey said there would be no decertification of the election.

"When it comes to the audit, like the three audits that preceded it, it's now over. The outcome stands and the 2020 election in Arizona is over," Ducey tweeted.

Although the audit—conducted by Cyber Ninjas—upheld the results of the election, it was widely condemned by election experts as being partisan and "laughable."

"Having zero experience in election audits, the Ninjas announcement that they had confirmed, to a high degree of accuracy, the election results of the second-largest county in the country is, we believe, laughable," Larry Moore, the founder and retired CEO of the Clear Ballot Group, which pioneered independent audits of the primary voting-system companies, wrote in an explanation accompanying the report published Friday.

Newsweek reached out to Lake's campaign for comment but did not hear back by publication.