Unsuccessful Republican candidate in Arizona attorney general race pushes for new trial

PHOENIX (AP) — Attorneys for the Republican candidate who lost last year's election for Arizona attorney general on Tuesday requested a new trial in his efforts to overturn the results of the November contest.

They allege Abraham Hamadeh actually won because many provisional ballots they believe were cast for him were wrongly disqualified, along with some undervotes tossed out because of unclear markings.

Democrat Kris Mayes was declared the winner in the election in late December and has been serving in the office since early this year.

Hamadeh attorney Jennifer Wright told Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee F. Jantzen that her client requires a new trial because of problems found during a recount in rural Pinal County that shrank the statewide difference between the two candidates from 511 to 280 votes out of about 2.5 million.

“This case isn’t about fraud, it's about new evidence and it’s about facts,” Wright said.

Alexis Danneman, representing the Attorney General's Office, called the request “unprecedented.”

Danneman said Hamadeh's attorneys were basically arguing: “The election was close. If you let us keep looking, we might find something.”

Jantzen said he would issue a decision in the next several weeks.

The case is among several still alive in Arizona courts six months after an election that saw Democrats win the top races in the former Republican stronghold.

Former TV anchor Kari Lake, the 2022 Republican candidate for Arizona governor, also continues to challenge her defeat to Democrat Katie Hobbs, who took office in January, even though courts have dismissed most of her lawsuit.

A three-day trial is set to begin Wednesday over the only remaining legal claim in Lake’s challenge of her defeat to Hobbs six months ago.

Lake made former President Donald Trump’s election lies the centerpiece of her campaign. While most other election deniers around the country conceded after losing their races in November, Lake persisted.

Republicans had nominated a slate of candidates backed by Trump who focused on supporting his false claims about the 2020 election. In addition to Hobbs and Mayes, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly was reelected, and Democrat Adrian Fontes won the race for secretary of state.

The Arizona Supreme Court sanctioned Lake's lawyers $2,000 earlier this month in their unsuccessful challenge of Hobbs' win.

The state’s highest court said Lake’s attorney made “false factual statements” that more than 35,000 ballots had been improperly added to the total ballot count.