Leaked phone shows clash between Cary Lake campaign and Maricopa County


Hours before Carilek’s expected loss in the race for governor of Arizona, her campaign attorneys and attorneys for the Republican National Committee spoke by phone Monday with a lawyer in Maricopa County, Maricopa The county is home to Phoenix and more than half of the state’s electorate.

Nearly a week ago, Lake District representatives asked a series of questions about voting on Election Day. Then, toward the end of the call, an RNC attorney emphasized the importance of a quick answer, according to Maricopa attorney Tom Liddy, a lifelong Republican who runs the county’s civil litigation office.

Liddy recalled being told by RNC lawyers who he and others identified as Benjamin Meyer that there were “a lot of angry people out there” and that the campaign “couldn’t control them.”

Liddy said in an interview Friday that he viewed the words as a threat.

On Friday night, a Twitter account linked to Lake’s campaign posted a video Or catch part of a call where Liddy swears and raises her voice. The Lake campaign did not respond to a request for the full video, which was filmed from inside the GOP’s war room at the Scottsdale resort. County officials said they were caught off guard that the conversation was taped and released publicly, with only one party’s name redacted.

Tim La Sota, an attorney for Lake’s campaign who was on the call, did not dispute Liddy’s account of the conversation but said he did not read Mayer’s comments as a threat. An RNC spokesman called Liddy’s account of the call “false” and issued a statement attacking Maricopa County officials as “completely incompetent.”

This The tense exchange between two Republican lawyers exposed a war within the Republican Party over election administration. The discord has been most intense in Maricopa County, the second-largest voting precinct in the United States, which became a focus of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 loss. Counting of ballots in the county is still underway, and a race for state attorney general, which could affect enforcement of election laws, hangs in the balance.

The interactions captured on video reveal how growing distrust following the midterm elections has turned into open hostility. Citing printer issues plaguing voting in Maricopa County, Lake’s campaign argues results should not be certified and county officials should be fired.

Lake did not concede to Democrat Katie Hobbs, who declared victory on Monday shortly after the main network announced the race.

In the days since, the palpable outrage on the call has continued to define Lake’s public comments, while her campaign’s legal strategy remains unclear. People close to her campaign said the potential lawsuit was aimed not at reversing the outcome but at closing the gap.

Lake didn’t call for protests, as Trump did after his defeat, but her team shared stories about Hobbs’ portraying the Democrat as a dog and calling her “incompetent” and “downright dark.” ” meme.

Video clips circulated by Lake’s campaign showed the RNC attorney sitting in front of a computer with a phone in his hand, and another person on the other side, as if recording the episode. In the clip, “It would be helpful if we could say Tom Liddy gave us good information,” the RNC’s attorney said.

“Guess what? Let me teach you,” Liddy replied, according to the video. “I can’t control what you say. Okay? You can say whatever you want. I can’t control that. Now, if you don’t like working with me…then we stop. I don’t care—”

At one point, Liddy said, “It sounds like you’re threatening me.” Mel replied, “I’m absolutely not threatening you, I promise.”

When he recalled the RNC lawyer’s words, Liddy repeated them to him. “If I don’t give you these answers ASAP, you can’t tell those crazy people I’ve been a big help,” Liddy said, according to the video. “I don’t care.”

“I’m just saying things that worry me,” Mel replied, and Liddy told him, “I don’t care.”

In Carrille’s war room, Republicans are grappling with defeat

Liddy’s call log shows the call lasted 12 minutes. He said the brief video lacked the crucial context to explain his reaction to Mayer’s remarks — namely the alleged invocation of angry members of the public. RNC spokesman Nathan Brand said the video shows “how a Maricopa County attorney responds to an RNC attorney seeking transparency — it’s completely unacceptable.”

Lake campaign attorney La Sota told The Washington Post that the call was one of many with the county about “ordinary” questions about the ballot. Questions raised early on in the call centered on the nature of outstanding ballots and the number of people who failed to properly exit voting centers after encountering mechanical problems that could have prevented them from voting elsewhere.

Lasota noted that the county attorney was on the edge of tension, but said he thought Liddy was overreacting. Liddy, A lifelong Republican, the son of G. Gordon Liddy, the attorney who engineered the botched burglary that led to the Watergate scandal and the resignation of President Richard Nixon. He served as associate counsel to the RNC in the 1990s.

Liddy told the Post that he reported the incident to his boss, County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, Sheriff Paul Penzone (D) and Bill Gates, the Republican chairman of the county’s governing board. trade.

Lake’s campaign has been blaming printers at 70 polling places in Maricopa County. The problems involved ballots with ink that was too thin to read, requiring some people to wait in long lines, travel to other locations to vote or deposit ballots in secure boxes that were moved downtown and counted there. The county has not yet determined the cause of the printer problems.

Arizona districts with voting problems aren’t overwhelmingly Republican

On Thursday, Lake told her followers on social media, “Arizona, we’re still in this fight.” There was a standing ovation at a lunch hosted by the Policy Institute, America First, a think tank founded last year by Trump allies and former members of his administration, according to a person who was there. That night, she addressed a crowd at the club and falsely claimed that officials “shut down the machines on Election Day,” based on a video circulating on social media.

For its part, the county has accused the state’s Republican leaders of spreading misinformation about early voting and making baseless allegations of malfeasance. In the days around November, Gates confirmed to The Post on Friday that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office moved Gates to an undisclosed location following threats during the Jan. 8 election.

The County Attorney’s Office represents two entities responsible for elections: the Board of Supervisors and the County Recorder. After the 2020 campaign, Liddy played a leading role in advising county officials as Trump and his allies sought to delay and rescind the certification of the results and undermine confidence in the results through partisan ballot censorship, ultimately leading to distrust in the county. Officials investigating Arizona Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

Liddy told the Post he was responding to the RNC attorney’s comments against the backdrop of threats against county officials and others defending the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Rusty Bowers, the Republican speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, was one of the targets, resisting a pressure campaign to undo Trump’s defeat in the state, only to face protests outside his home, including his own. 42 year old daughter dying at his home in January 2021.

“This is against the backdrop of people taking to the streets throughout 2020; people taking to the streets in front of Rusty Bowers’ house while his daughter is dying; hundreds of threats of death or imprisonment being sent to my clients , who were officers or employees of Maricopa County, made death threats against me and my son,” Liddy said.

Liddy said the questions Lake’s campaign asked were routine and he worked hard to answer them quickly.

“It shocked me,” he added, “that a member of the Law Society would threaten another lawyer.”

Monday’s call came amid growing tensions between the Republican campaign and Maricopa County.

On Oct. 10, two days after the election, a Phoenix-based attorney representing the RNC wrote to the county’s elections director, asking his department to “keep running 24 hours a day,” according to emails obtained by The Post. Processing ballots and posting results. A county leader responded that the elections department was “operating at full capacity.” Election officials have previously stressed that counting votes could take as long as 12 days.

Last week, Lake posted a series of videos on Twitter from voters who claimed they were denied the opportunity to vote. Voters described encountering mechanical failures or other obstacles they found frustrating, though some said they ended up voting as they commented directly to the camera.

Lake’s campaign agent, Lasota, also requested a wide range of communications and other documents from the county, according to a copy of the request obtained by The Post. To Liddy, the request seeks all communications between county officials and agents “regarding issues tabulating or printing ballots at voting centers” prior to Election Day.

La Sota wrote that no voter centers were open for early voting on Oct. 10. 12 encountered tabulation problems, which he thought “didn’t make any logical sense”. A county spokeswoman confirmed the printer issue only arose on Election Day. But early ballots were tabulated in the city center, the same place where ballots with too light ink were sent to be counted.

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