In Arizona, GOP candidates Kari Lake and Mark Finchem won’t commit to accepting election results

Kari Lake in an interview with Arizona's Family.
Kari Lake in an interview with Arizona's Family.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 1:46 PM MST
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POLITIFACT - With the first ad from her anti-Donald Trump political action committee, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., attacked two Trump-endorsed Republican candidates in Arizona as being election deniers.

The 30-second spot from The Great Task was released Oct. 28, less than two weeks before Election Day. It begins by showing Cheney speaking at an event.

“I don’t know that I have ever voted for a Democrat, but if I lived in Arizona, I absolutely would,” she says.

“You have a candidate for governor, in Kari Lake, you have a candidate for secretary of state, in Mark Finchem, both of whom have said that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree with it.”

Cheney continues: “And if you care about the survival of our republic, we cannot give people power who will not honor elections. We must have elected officials who honor that responsibility.”

The clips are lightly edited remarks Cheney made Oct. 5 at the McCain Institute, a think tank named after the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Lake and Finchem filed a lawsuit based on false claims of problems with vote-counting machines that would have required Arizona officials to count Nov. 8 ballots by hand. The lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge in August.

They have also made statements suggesting they would refuse to accept election results.

Both Lake, a former Phoenix TV news anchor, and Finchem, a state representative, are running for open seats. Lake is running against Democrat Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state. Finchem’s challenger is Democrat Adrian Fontes, a former Maricopa County election official.

Lake wouldn’t commit to accepting result of her race

Lake, in a CNN interview Oct. 16, refused to commit to accepting the results of her election.

There was this exchange between her and anchor-reporter Dana Bash:

Bash: “Will you accept the results of the election in your election? Will you accept the results?”

Lake: “Can we talk about issues? I came on here thinking we were going to talk about the issues facing Arizonans right now.”

Moments later, Bash tried again.

Bash: “Will you accept the results of your election, Ms. Lake?”

Lake: After making claims about Hobbs, Lake said: “I’m not going to lose this election, because the people of Arizona will never elect a racist like Katie Hobbs. They just won’t.”

Bash: “My question is, will you accept the results of your election in November?”

Lake: “I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result.”

Bash: “If you lose, will you accept that?”

Lake: “I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result …”

Later in October, Lake said in an ABC News interview that she would accept her election result, under certain circumstances. Here was her exchange with reporter Jonathan Karl:

Karl: “But let me ask you, why it is that you have not said — or maybe you’ll do it now — you have not said that you will accept the certified results of this election, even if you lose this election?”

Lake: “I will accept the results of this election if we have a fair, honest and transparent election. Absolutely, 100%.”

Karl: “So, if you were to lose — and you’re ahead — but if you were to lose, and you went out and you had all your appeals, they went through —”

Lake: “As long as it’s fair, honest and transparent.”

Karl: “And certified …”

Lake: “It looks like my opponent might have to determine that.”

Karl: “Well, she is the secretary —”

Lake: “That’s an interesting conundrum, isn’t it?”

Lake’s campaign said in an email to PolitiFact that Lake “feels very confident that she will win,” that the voters won’t elect Hobbs and that she “will absolutely accept the results of a fair, honest and transparent election.”

Finchem vowed not to concede

Finchem vowed at a June fundraiser before winning his August primary that he would not concede.

He said: “Ain’t gonna be no concession speech coming from this guy. I’m going to demand a 100% hand count if there is the slightest hint that there’s an impropriety. And I will urge the next governor to do the same.”

Finchem has also not committed to certifying Arizona’s vote in the 2024 presidential election if he were to be elected secretary of state.

Finchem told PBS that he would certify that election “as long as all lawful votes are counted and all votes cast are under the law,” but did not respond to follow-up questions about who decides if the votes were lawful or whether he would accept results of court proceedings.

Finchem has falsely claimed Trump won the 2020 election and supported bills to decertify some counties’ 2020 election results.

Finchem’s campaign did not respond to our messages.

Cheney, who was elected to Wyoming’s lone House seat in 2016, announced her leadership PAC after she was defeated in the August primary by Republican Harriet Hageman, whom Trump endorsed.

The PAC’s aim is to “educate the American people about the ongoing threat to our republic” and to mobilize against any Trump campaign for president.

Our ruling

Cheney claimed Lake and Finchem “have said that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree with it.”

Lake has insisted she will win her race and said she would accept that result. Asked in one October interview whether she would accept a losing result, she declined to answer. Asked in another how she would respond if she lost, she said she’d accept the result “as long as it’s fair, honest and transparent.”

Before winning his August primary, Finchem vowed he would not concede, saying he would “demand a 100% hand count if there is the slightest hint that there’s an impropriety.”

Cheney’s claim is accurate but needs additional information. We rate it Mostly True.