A top attorney for Arizona’s Maricopa County told The Washington Post that he contacted law enforcement authorities about what he considered a threat from the campaign of losing GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.
Lake’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have denied the accusation.
The clash occurred during a phone call Nov. 14 as Lake was projected to lose to Democratic rival, Katie Hobbs. At one point a Republican National Committee lawyer on the call demanded rapid answers from the county attorney on a number of issues. The county includes vote-heavy Phoenix.
The RNC attorney, who was identified as Benjamin Mehr, underscored that there were “a lot of irate people out there” and that Lake’s campaign “can’t control them,” recalled the county attorney, Tom Liddy.
Liddy, a lifelong Republican who heads the county’s office for civil litigation, told the Post on Friday that he considered the comment a threat, and informed county Sheriff Paul Penzone and his boss, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell.
At one point, Liddy told Mehr: “Let me tell you something, Ben, it sounds like you’re threatening me” — which Meher denied.
But Liddy reiterated: “If I don’t get these answers to you quickly, you’re not going to be able to tell the crazy people that I’ve been helpful. I don’t give a fuck. Is that clear enough? ... no more threats.”
The call was secretly recorded by the Lake campaign, which posted two minutes of the 12-minute call on Twitter. The campaign did not respond to Post requests to release the entire recording.
The posted recording did not include the threat reported by Liddy, but it did include Mehr’s denial that he threatened Liddy. It also included Liddy’s summary of the threat, and his “no more threats” admonishment to Mehr.
Lake has refused to concede the race for governor. She tweeted Thursday: “We are still in the fight.”
The former candidate has complained that several people could not vote for her because of problems at polling places, and posted their complaints on Twitter. But The New York Times reported Saturday that 34 voters reached by the newspaper who allegedly had problems said they did cast a vote.
Only one voter contacted claimed she was not given an opportunity to vote, but she said she turned up as the polling spot was closing, the Times reported. Three others said they had problems with their voter registration. And in seven other accounts reviewed by the newspaper, it was unclear whether voters had cast ballots or believed their vote had not been counted properly, the Times reported.