“I still think she’s the rightful winner,” said one OAN host of former news anchor Kari Lake, on December 13, nearly a month after news networks projected Lake’s defeat in the Arizona governor’s race.
Now, another month later, Lake and her grievances are making the rounds at OAN once again, as a different host ominously warns that “the fraud will continue until we have the wherewithal to take a wrecking ball to the system and build it anew.”
OAN has been a major spreader of election misinformation ever since former President Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat sparked a modern era of election denial, and Lake’s futile legal attempts to steal the election are the movement’s latest rallying cry. Lake lost her initial lawsuit to vacate Democrat Katie Hobbs’ victory due to a lack of evidence, but Lake appealed the decision on December 27, an appeal which the court expedited to February 1.
“Some good news that we get this fast-tracked so we can try and get some answers,” said Real America’s Dan Ball, as though Lake’s unsubstantiated claims have a significant chance of corroboration, much less ending with Lake as governor. Lake’s request for the Arizona Supreme Court to pick up the case was denied, and Hobbs took office on January 2.
Nonetheless, Lake is on a right-wing media attention tour for her exploits -- she also recently appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room: Pandemic and Fox Business’ Sunday Morning Futures -- and OAN is happy to play host in furtherance of its own false position that, as In Focus host Addison Smith put it, “election fraud is not a bug of the American election system, but a feature.”
Lake’s OAN leg of her lawsuit update tour began on January 13 on Real America, with Ball’s sunny outlook on her appeal. “You’re fighting like hell — you don’t give up. That’s why we love you so much,” he told Lake. In Trumpian fashion, she replied that “we’re going to lose our country if we keep allowing them to steal and rig elections.”
“We know that they intentionally sabotaged Election Day,” Lake protested, and “we are going to go back into court and prove this once again,” although the previous court rejected the arguments of Lake’s every witness, finding that her case provided no compelling evidence of its claims. Lake’s update was then followed by extensive culture warring over Hobbs’ policy priorities as governor, almost as though the campaign were ongoing.
On January 16, Lake appeared on In Focus, after an introduction from Smith, who cited former President Lyndon Johnson’s possible theft of a 1948 Senate primary as evidence that “election fraud is not a bug of the American election system, but a feature of it.” Smith complained that Democrats “seem to still be using the same old tricks” and “the fraud will continue until we have the wherewithal to take a wrecking ball to the system and build it anew.”
During her interview, Lake and Smith both attacked an election reform proposal, and Smith dismissed “the entire regime media” for calling her a conspiracy theorist. “The more that I see the media doing that, the more I know that you, Kari Lake, have them very scared,” Smith laughed, before Lake accused the author of the proposed reforms, Maricopa County recorder Stephen Richer, of running elections like “a third world country, like a banana republic.”
“The man is incompetent at best, malicious at worst,” Lake said of Richer, misleadingly suggesting that she has proved fraud which he had earlier dismissed as “hiccups.”
“If that's a hiccup, then Stephen Richer, as I said, needs to resign. He doesn't know what he's doing, and he doesn't care about the sacred vote of the people of Maricopa County,” said Lake, who is still attempting to overturn an election and remove the duly elected governor.
If one were inclined to believe that Lake’s current attention-seeking is actually intended to boost support for a potential campaign against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), that may be the case, but she denied as much on OAN. According to Lake, rumors of her U.S. Senate campaign are “the fake news … trying to take away the focus” from “the strongest election lawsuit this country’s ever seen.”
Evidence (or lack thereof) suggests otherwise, but OAN doesn’t seem to care.