Abraham Hamadeh, the Republican nominee for attorney general in Arizona, repeatedly promised to pursue criminal charges against “those who worked to rob President Trump in the rigged 2020 election.” The 31-year-old built his campaign around baseless allegations of election malfeasance and posted an image of handcuffs on social media while vowing that “a day of reckoning” was coming.
In November, Arizona voters rejected Mr. Hamadeh and every other election denier seeking statewide office. A judge rejected his court challenge of the result, but the race was close enough to trigger an automatic statewide recount. On Thursday, another judge announced that, after all the ballots had been counted again, moderate Democratic candidate Kris Mayes, who had campaigned on protecting voting rights, finished ahead by 280 votes out of more than 2.5 million ballots cast — making it one of the closest races in state history.
This was an exclamation point to end an election year that saw a remarkable repudiation of high-profile GOP candidates who embraced the Trumpian cause of undermining democracy and sought to carry it forward. Arizona was ground zero for election denialism in 2022. For governor, Republicans nominated Kari Lake, who said she wouldn’t have certified the 2020 results; for secretary of state, Mark Finchem, a self-described member of the Oath Keepers who wanted to let the GOP-controlled state legislature overturn the will of the people; for U.S. Senate, Blake Masters, who said in a commercial that “Trump won in 2020.” They all lost.
Arizonans showed discernment and put country over partisanship. Ms. Lake said at one of her closing rallies that anyone who loved John McCain was welcome to leave. Her defeat showed that McCain’s maverick spirit is alive and well.
But while democracy — and sanity — fared well statewide, denialist forces prevailed in some down-ballot contests. Speaker of the House Russell “Rusty” Bowers, who courageously rejected Donald Trump’s false claims of fraud in 2020, lost a primary challenge from an election denier. Meanwhile, Reps. Paul A. Gosar and Andy Biggs won reelection to the House in red districts despite their support for Mr. Trump’s plot to overturn the 2020 election.
For his part, Mr. Trump is still at it, continuing to recklessly sow doubts in the integrity of election processes. The former president released a statement Friday afternoon saying, with no evidence, that Mr. Hamadeh “WILL WIN!” if Republicans demand a statewide hand recount.
Mr. Hamadeh still has not conceded either. “We must get to the bottom of this election,” Mr. Hamadeh tweeted Thursday after the judge announced the final results of the recount.
Arizona has done exactly that. Mr. Hamadeh got his days in court. He lost. Democracy won.
The Washington Post, Jan. 2
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