MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. — A Maricopa County Superior Court Judge on Monday said the clock is ticking on a lawsuit that needs to be resolved before the state’s newly elected attorney general is sworn in on Jan. 2.
But first, the court needs to decide if the legal action is valid.
Just a day after polls closed, Republican candidate for attorney general Abe Hamadeh declared victory on Nov. 9 tweeting, “I want to thank the people of Arizona for entrusting me with this great responsibility.”
Hamadeh later deleted that tweet and eventually lost the election by an unofficial tally of just 510 votes.
But Hamadeh isn’t giving up – his attorney appeared in court for him Monday to contest the results.
Last week, Hamadeh filed a lawsuit against Democratic opponent Kris Mayes, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, and Arizona’s 15 county elections directors and county boards.
The legal challenge by Hamadeh states (The plaintiffs) "... are not, by this lawsuit, alleging any fraud, manipulation or other intentional wrongdoing that would impugn the outcomes of the Nov. 8, 2022 general election."
Instead, it alleges "errors and inaccuracies'' in how some polling places were managed, problems in processing and tabulation and uncounted provisional ballots.
The challenge argues those issues warrant a second look at provisional ballots that allegedly went uncounted.
At one point during Monday's hearing, attorneys for both sides sparred over the legitimacy of Hamadeh’s challenge.
“This is a lawsuit in search of facts and I think Mr. Langhoffer just admitted all of that, saying he didn’t have any of these facts to file this lawsuit in the first place,” said Dan Barr who represents Mayes.
Kory Langhofer, Hamadeh's attorney, said, “I am deeply offended at the suggestion that we have transgressed some rule or norm in filing what has been a very carefully drafted and narrow complaint.”
A request to dismiss the complaint filed by Mayes argues, "Plaintiffs Abraham Hamadeh and the Republican National Committee seek from this Court what they could not get at the ballot box."
It also says Hamadeh’s challenge is based on "speculation and conjecture," a "misunderstanding of Arizona's election laws," and amounts to "a fishing expedition" of evidence that does not exist.
Mayes took to cable news over the weekend where she said, “At the end of the day, no voter in Arizona was disenfranchised. No voter was prevented from being able to cast their ballots.”
Judge Randall Warner said he will decide within a day or two whether the complaint should move forward and if so, whether it should happen at the same time a state-required recount takes place.
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