Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-03) is amping up his energy on fundraising efforts for his 2024 Senate campaign.
As part of his efforts, Gallego is leaning into memes to gin up support. Although embattled Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake hasn’t officially announced a run, Gallego cited Lake as a reason to support his campaign.
Gallego issued his tweet warning about “Senator Kari Lake” a day before Lake revealed to Breitbart that she was considering running to challenge incumbent Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ). However, Lake disclosed that she had a “lot of options” to choose from, though she didn’t offer details as to what those might be.
“I am contemplating running for office again,” said Lake. “I may run for Senate, I’m considering that.”
Lake convened with the U.S. Senate GOP’s campaign team in May to discuss a possible Senate run. The visit was a follow-up to a February meeting with the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Gallego again relied on a meme to issue an end-of-quarter plea for more funding several weeks ago.
Gallego also used former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in an attempt to boost donations.
According to the latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) data through March, Gallego has raised over $3.7 million since January. Only about 2,200 of his 11,818 contributions have come from Arizona, totaling about $500,000.
Top donors include Evan Goldberg, executive vice president for global technology giant Oracle Corporation; Andrew E. Beck III, managing director for global investment giant D.E. Shaw; and George Pla, CEO of construction engineering giant Cordoba Corporation.
Over $7,000, the single-highest donation, came from the Swallego Victory Fund: the joint committee between Gallego and fellow Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA-14).
Gallego also received thousands of dollars in early support from a number of national unions: United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; National Beer Wholesalers Association; National Association of Letter Carriers of U.S.A.; National Air Traffic Controllers Association; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; International Association of Sheet, Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers; International Association of Firefighters Interested in Registration and Education; International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers; International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers; Communications Workers of America
Gallego also received some support from political action committees (PACs) associated with major corporations: Synchrony Financial, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Northrop Grummanm, General Dynamics, and Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association.
Several PACs also issued thousands to Gallego: VoteVets, The Next 50 PAC, and Poet PAC.
Since their inception in 2006, VoteVets brought in over $102.6 million. The Next 50 PAC, registered in 2019 and based out of New York, has brought in over $730,000. Poet PAC, established in 2008 and based out of South Dakota, has brought in over $6.3 million.
On Monday, the Maricopa County Superior Court dismissed Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s case. Tuesday, Lake announced the launch of the “largest ballot chasing operation” in state history, which she clarified was a voter registration initiative for the upcoming election year.
Leading the initiative, backed financially with the Save Arizona Fund, will be longtime grassroots activist Merissa Hamilton.
Lake asserted that her team had proven “beyond a shadow of a doubt” to the Maricopa County Superior Court the brokenness of the state’s election system. However, despite her court loss, Lake pledged to continue to fight for election wins. Lake said that left-wing political actors shouldn’t be the only ones that conduct voter registration.
“We’ve got to work in this rigged, corrupt system, and we can do it,” said Lake.
Lake said that while she opposes mail-in ballots, she believes that the current election system requires participation to win. She claimed that about 500,000 Republican and independent voters combined were sent a mail-in ballot that they didn’t return.
“If this is the game we have to play, if this is their rigged system, we’ll work in their rigged system,” said Lake.
The Arizona Supreme Court granted a review of Lake’s challenge in March.
In Monday’s ruling, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson explained that Lake failed to prove that election officials engaged in misconduct that affected the results of the gubernatorial election. Thompson ruled that Lake’s presentation of evidence that the signature review process was unlawful didn’t provide certainty that a specific number of ballots were impacted by the allegedly quick review.
Thompson cited several testimonies presented by Lake’s witnesses, who reported a preference for a more hasty and thorough signature review process but admitted that the multiple signature reviews required by law were completed. He said it was Lake’s own witnesses that confirmed the counties had abided by election law concerning signature processes, and rejected Lake’s argument based on Reyes v. Cuming that proper elections administration wasn’t adhered to and therefore hindered their ability to argue on a specific number of affected ballots.
“[T]his review was done hastily and possibly not as thoroughly as [complainants] would have liked — but it was done,” wrote Thompson. “This evidence is, in its own right, clear indicia that the comparative process was undertaken in compliance with the statute, putting us outside the scope of Reyes. There is clear and convincing evidence that the elections process for the November 8, 2022, General Election did comply with A.R.S. § 16-550 and that there was no misconduct in the process to support a claim under A.R.S. § 16-672.”
Lake’s team argued that the ballot signatures were processed much too quickly — under one second — to be in compliance with the spirit of the law. Thompson dismissed this argument, saying that time constraints weren’t outlined in the Election Procedures Manual (EPM) and therefore weren’t a standard that could be held against the counties.
“Plaintiff argues that this is so deficient for signature comparison that it amounts to no process at all. Accepting that argument would require the Court to rewrite not only the EPM but Arizona law to insert a minimum time for signature verification and specify the variables to be considered in the process,” stated Thompson. “Plaintiff asks the Court to interpret the word ‘compare’ in A.R.S. § 16-550(A) to require the Court to engage in a substantive weighing of whether Maricopa County’s signature verification process, as implemented, met some analytical baseline. But there are several problems with this. First, no such baseline appears in Section 16-550. Not one second, not three seconds, and not six seconds: no standard appears in the plain text of the statute. No reviewer is required by statute or the EPM to spend any specific length of time on any particular signature.”
Thompson stated the Lake’s witnesses were truthful in their testimonies.
“The Court makes no finding of dishonesty by any witness — and commends those signature reviewers who stepped forward to critique the process as they understood it,” said Thompson.
Thompson declared that no further matters remained on the case, save costs sought by the state and county election officials. Thompson issued a 5:00 pm Tuesday deadline for proposed form of judgment from the defendants, with a 5:00 pm Wednesday deadline for objection to those proposals by Lake’s team.
After days of anticipation, a former American president was indicted by a New York City grand jury, sparking great outrage by Arizona Republicans.
Former President Donald J. Trump, according to reports, was indicted by a New York City grand jury on Thursday. The indictment came days after Trump posted a warning to his Truth Social account that he would soon be arrested despite “no crime being able to be proven and based on an old and fully debunked fairytale.”
The news created a firestorm across the nation – on both sides of the aisle. Arizona, home to some of the most ardent supporters of the former president – was no exception, as lawmakers and party leaders expressed their thoughts on the historic and unprecedented action by a prosecutor against a former leader of the free world and current frontrunner for President of the United States.
Kari Lake, the 2022 Republican nominee for Arizona Governor, released a statement condemning the indictment, writing: “This is a dark moment in the history of our nation. The radical left and their weaponized criminal justice system have crossed all legal and ethical lines in an attempt to destroy President Donald J. Trump. Jailing your political opponents based on politically-motivated grievances is something you’d expect to see out of third-world dictatorships or banana republics. But now, after a years-long assault on our Constitution, the radical left has accelerated this country’s descent into a broken system that allows for the political persecution of ANYONE who threatens the status quo.”
Representative Austin Smith tweeted, “I stand with President Trump.”
Smith later added, “The American left has fully embraced Bolshevism now with no apologies There is no going back from this.”
Representative John Gillette stated, “This has already been to trial. Stormy lost and had to pay Trump $300,000, her lawyer, Avanati was convicted and sent to prison for fraud. The Democrat machine and the Soros funded AG, used his office for politics. He just assured that Trump supporters will come out strongly!
Representative Alex Kolodin challenged his colleagues to use the breaking news to push legislation that would hinder these prosecutorial actions, saying, “Reminder, my fellow Freedom Caucus members and I are running a bill to prohibit political prosecutions – the time is now!”
Kolodin’s pitch to fellow legislators attracted the attention of Senator Justine Wadsack, who endorsed his comments” “I’m proud to work with @realAlexKolodin on our bill #SB1418 that passed out of the Senate and House Government committee. The timing for the need of such a bill is ironic with the indictment of Donald Trump.”
Senator Jake Hoffman, the Chairman of the Arizona Freedom Caucus, said, “The indictment of President Trump by this Soros-backed prosecutor is the most disgusting weaponization of the justice system in our nation’s history.”
Senator Anthony Kern tweeted, “I stand with the best America First President @realDonaldTrump!
Representative Rachel Jones wrote, “President Trump once said, ‘They’re not after me. They’re after you. I’m just in the way.’ I stand with this man!”
Senator Wendy Rogers, one of Trump’s top allies in the state, echoed what many of her colleagues had been releasing throughout the day, tweeting, “We stand with @realDonaldTrump.”
The Arizona Senate Democrats Caucus appeared to mock Republicans standing with the former President – specifically Representative Smith, tweeting, “ *makes note* Arizona Freedom Caucus is standing with the President who paid hush money to a porn star while married.”
Smith had the last word with this exchange, firing back: “ *makes note* Arizona Senate Democrats ok with third world country tactics”
The Arizona Senate Democrats Caucus unsurprisingly had a different perspective on the day’s events, stating, “Big list of ‘firsts’ from Donald Trump: – First President to face criminal charges. – First President to lead an insurrection on our Capitol (joined by a current Arizona Republican State Senator). – First President that led an active charge to overturn our elections.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.
On Wednesday, the Arizona Supreme Court granted a review to gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in her challenge of the 2022 election’s validity.
The court dismissed six of the seven issues presented by Lake. The one granted review concerned Maricopa County’s signature verification policies. Chief Justice Robert Brutinel determined that the trial court had wrongly dismissed this issue by interpreting it as a challenge to the policies themselves rather than the application of the policies.
The issue asks:
“Did the panel err in dismissing the signature-verification claim on laches, mischaracterizing Lake’s claim as a challenge to existing signature verification policies, when Lake in fact alleged that Maricopa failed to follow these policies during the 2022 general election?”
Lake alleged that Maricopa County violated A.R.S. § 16-550(A), claiming that a material number of early ballots cast in the election were transmitted in envelopes containing an affidavit signature that election officials accepted despite determining that it didn’t match the signature on that voter’s registration record.
In a press release, Lake characterized the ruling as a win. She called Maricopa County’s signature verification system “completely broken,” and claimed the county was “absolutely terrified” of transparency.
Court watchers say the court has remanded the signature verification issue to the trial court to reconsider the motion to dismiss on grounds other than laches. If the court determines there are no legally sufficient grounds to dismiss, then the court must hold a trial to review the relevant evidence to determine if an outcome determinative number of early ballots were accepted without appropriate signature verification.
While this ruling offers Lake the opportunity to review the signature process, it likely won’t change the outcome of the trial based on the lead in votes by Gov. Katie Hobbs: over 17,100. On the other hand, the court’s signal that it would allow a trial may be favorable for attorney general candidate Abe Hamdeh.
Hamadeh is recorded as losing the election to Democratic opponent, Attorney General Kris Mayes, by just under 300 votes.
Hamadeh appealed the election after the recount discovered that Pinal County undercounted hundreds of ballots, halving Mayes’ original lead from over 511 to under 300.
Mass failures of election machines on Election Day, specifically stemming from the printers, caused long waiting times at vote centers and, in some instances, caused voters to either be discouraged from voting or unable to vote due to time constraints. Those who did stay and were unable to cast a regular ballot due to tabulator issues were forced to cast provisional ballots. Over 17,000 voters filed provisional ballots.
Kari Lake has announced she will once again seek review from the Arizona Supreme Court of her claims that she, and not Katie Hobbs, is the state’s legitimate governor.
It will be Lake’s third such effort since the Nov. 8, 2022 General Election, and comes after the Arizona Court of Appeals issued a Feb. 16 opinion upholding a Maricopa County judge’s dismissal back in December of Lake’s election challenge.
Lake has claimed in various legal pleadings that Hobbs’ victory by more than 17,000 votes was improperly influenced by myriad Election Day problems in Maricopa County. As a result, Lake has been seeking to have the county’s election certification voided in the governor’s race.
Her legal filings have argued that a judge should declare Lake as the rightful winner based on various evidence presented to the court. Or in the alternative, she wants an order for a new election in Maricopa County in the governor race.
Last week’s unanimous appellate opinion noted Lakes’ request for relief “fails because the evidence presented to the superior court ultimately supports the court’s conclusion that voters were able to cast their ballots, that votes were counted correctly, and that no other basis justifies setting aside the election results.”
The opinion authored by Chief Judge Kent E. Cattani and joined by Presiding Judge Maria Elena Cruz and Judge Pro Tempore Peter B. Swann came on the heels of two failed earlier attempts by Lake’s legal team to bypass the appellate court and have the Arizona Supreme Court hear the case.
Lake now has until March 20 to file a Petition for Review with the state’s high court. There is no guarantee, however, that the Justices will accept the case.
Terri Jo Neff is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or send her news tips here.