In Arizona, Kari Lake’s Next Move Splits Factions of G.O.P.

The Lake campaign is working in tandem with other Republican state campaigns to prepare a legal fight, according two people familiar with the planning who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The campaign and its allies have for days been collecting testimonials from voters that could be used in court.

With a presidential campaign announcement pending from Donald J. Trump, Ms. Lake’s most important supporter, she appeared content to keep a low profile on Tuesday — and keep people guessing — for at least another day. The adviser, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Ms. Lake was fielding advice from across the gamut of Republican politics but, as she had done her entire campaign, she would ultimately keep her own counsel, as she was doing at home in Scottsdale with her tight circle of advisers.

Ms. Lake, a former Phoenix news anchor who Republicans saw as a breakout star this election season, lost to Ms. Hobbs by less than a percentage point. Online and in her campaign’s war room over the past few days, election-denying firebrands have been urging Ms. Lake to fight the results.

Their arguments hang largely on a printing problem that slowed the tabulation of scores of ballots in Maricopa County on Election Day and caused confusion at some polling places. Maricopa County officials, many of them Republicans, have said the issue did not deny anyone the opportunity to vote.

Mr. Trump appeared to be among those goading Ms. Lake to fight. On Sunday, he called her and falsely suggested Democrats were trying to steal her victory as they had his in 2020, according to a person familiar with the conversation. On social media, he wrote, “They just took the election away from Kari Lake.”

Mr. Trump went silent on the matter on Tuesday, as he prepared to announce his bid for president.

Ms. Lake’s other election-denying allies — some who were involved in efforts to overturn Mr. Trump’s loss in 2020 — continued a drumbeat. Steve Bannon, the radio host who advised Mr. Trump on the effort to overturn the 2020 election results and stumped for Ms. Lake and other top Republicans in Arizona, and his guests called on election officials not to certify the results. The right-wing election denial influencer Seth Keshel said on Truth Social, Mr. Trump’s social media platform, that Ms. Lake, who he said he knows, “won’t be conceding a damn thing,” and Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s fired national security adviser, demanded a hand count of the results.


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