A top attorney for Arizona’s Maricopa County told The Washington Post that he contacted law enforcement about what he considered a threat from the campaign to lose GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.
Lake’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have denied the accusation.
The clash occurred during a phone call on Nov. 14, when Lake was expected to lose to Democratic rival Katie Hobbs. At one point, a Republican National Committee attorney on the call demanded quick answers from the county attorney on a number of issues. The county includes vote-heavy Phoenix.
The RNC attorney, identified as Benjamin Mehr, emphasized that there were “a lot of angry people out there” and that Lake’s campaign “can’t control them,” recalled County Attorney Tom Liddy.
Liddy, a lifelong Republican who heads the county’s Office of Civil Litigation, told the Post 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 repeated, “If I don’t get these answers to you soon, you won’t be able to tell those crazy people that I’ve been helpful. I don’t care. Is that clear enough? … no more threats. “
The call was secretly recorded by the Lake campaign, which released two minutes of the 12-minute call on Twitter. The campaign did not respond to Post requests to release the full 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” admonition to Mehr.
Lake has refused to concede the race for governor. She tweeted on Thursday: “We are still in the fight.”
The former candidate has complained that several people were unable to vote for her due to problems at polling stations, posting their grievances on Twitter. But The New York Times reported Saturday that 34 voters reached by the newspaper who allegedly had problems said they cast a ballot.
Only one contacted voter claimed she was not allowed to vote, but she said she showed up as the polling place was about to close, 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 votes had not been properly counted, the Times reported.