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Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake speaks at a rally Sept. 20, 2022 in Chandler, Ariz. (AP) Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake speaks at a rally Sept. 20, 2022 in Chandler, Ariz. (AP)

Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake speaks at a rally Sept. 20, 2022 in Chandler, Ariz. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher November 1, 2022

In Arizona, GOP candidates Kari Lake and Mark Finchem won’t commit to accepting election results

If Your Time is short

  • Lake said in one October interview, "I'm going to win the election, and I will accept that result," and in another said she’d accept the result if the election is "fair, honest and transparent."

  • Before winning his August primary, Finchem vowed he would not concede, saying he would "demand a 100% hand count if there is the slightest hint that there's an impropriety."

  • Both filed a lawsuit that would have required Arizona officials to count Nov. 8 ballots by hand. It was premised on false claims of problems with vote-counting machines and was dismissed in August.

With the first ad from her anti-Donald Trump political action committee, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., attacked two Trump-endorsed Republican candidates in Arizona as being election deniers.

The 30-second spot from The Great Task was released Oct. 28, less than two weeks before Election Day. It begins by showing Cheney speaking at an event.

"I don’t know that I have ever voted for a Democrat, but if I lived in Arizona, I absolutely would," she says.

"You have a candidate for governor, in Kari Lake, you have a candidate for secretary of state, in Mark Finchem, both of whom have said that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree with it." 

Cheney continues: "And if you care about the survival of our republic, we cannot give people power who will not honor elections. We must have elected officials who honor that responsibility."

The clips are lightly edited remarks Cheney made Oct. 5 at the McCain Institute, a think tank named after the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Lake and Finchem filed a lawsuit based on false claims of problems with vote-counting machines that would have required Arizona officials to count Nov. 8 ballots by hand. The lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge in August. 

They have also made statements suggesting they would refuse to accept election results.

Both Lake, a former Phoenix TV news anchor, and Finchem, a state representative, are running for open seats. Lake is running against Democrat Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state. Finchem’s challenger is Democrat Adrian Fontes, a former Maricopa County election official.

Lake wouldn’t commit to accepting result of her race

Lake, in a CNN interview Oct. 16, refused to commit to accepting the results of her election. 

There was this exchange between her and anchor-reporter Dana Bash:

Bash: "Will you accept the results of the election in your election? Will you accept the results?"

Lake: "Can we talk about issues? I came on here thinking we were going to talk about the issues facing Arizonans right now."

Moments later, Bash tried again.

Bash: "Will you accept the results of your election, Ms. Lake?"

Lake: After making claims about Hobbs, Lake said: "I'm not going to lose this election, because the people of Arizona will never elect a racist like Katie Hobbs. They just won't."

Bash: "My question is, will you accept the results of your election in November?"

Lake: "I'm going to win the election, and I will accept that result."

Bash: "If you lose, will you accept that?"

Lake: "I'm going to win the election, and I will accept that result …"

Later in October, Lake said in an ABC News interview that she would accept her election result, under certain circumstances. Here was her exchange with reporter Jonathan Karl:

Karl: "But let me ask you, why it is that you have not said — or maybe you'll do it now — you have not said that you will accept the certified results of this election, even if you lose this election?"

Lake: "I will accept the results of this election if we have a fair, honest and transparent election. Absolutely, 100%."

Karl: "So, if you were to lose — and you're ahead — but if you were to lose, and you went out and you had all your appeals, they went through —"

Lake: "As long as it's fair, honest and transparent."

Karl: "And certified …"

Lake: "It looks like my opponent might have to determine that."

Karl: "Well, she is the secretary —"

Lake: "That's an interesting conundrum, isn't it?"

Lake’s campaign said in an email to PolitiFact that Lake "feels very confident that she will win," that the voters won’t elect Hobbs and that she "will absolutely accept the results of a fair, honest and transparent election."

Finchem vowed not to concede

Finchem vowed at a June fundraiser before winning his August primary that he would not concede.

He said: "Ain't gonna be no concession speech coming from this guy. I'm going to demand a 100% hand count if there is the slightest hint that there's an impropriety. And I will urge the next governor to do the same."

Finchem has also not committed to certifying Arizona’s vote in the 2024 presidential election if he were to be elected secretary of state.

Finchem told PBS that he would certify that election "as long as all lawful votes are counted and all votes cast are under the law," but did not respond to follow-up questions about who decides if the votes were lawful or whether he would accept results of court proceedings. 

Finchem has falsely claimed Trump won the 2020 election and supported bills to decertify some counties’ 2020 election results.

Finchem’s campaign did not respond to our messages.

Cheney, who was elected to Wyoming’s lone House seat in 2016, announced her leadership PAC after she was defeated in the August primary by Republican Harriet Hageman, whom Trump endorsed. 

The PAC’s aim is to "educate the American people about the ongoing threat to our republic" and to mobilize against any Trump campaign for president.

Our ruling

Cheney claimed Lake and Finchem "have said that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree with it."

Lake has insisted she will win her race and said she would accept that result. Asked in one October interview whether she would accept a losing result, she declined to answer. Asked in another how she would respond if she lost, she said she’d accept the result "as long as it’s fair, honest and transparent." 

Before winning his August primary, Finchem vowed he would not concede, saying he would "demand a 100% hand count if there is the slightest hint that there's an impropriety."

Cheney’s claim is accurate but needs additional information. We rate it Mostly True.

RELATED: All of our fact-checks about Arizona 

RELATED: How could U.S. voting be affected if election deniers win?

RELATED: Fact-checking ads in the 2022 election campaigns

Our Sources

YouTube, The Great Task "Honor" ad, Oct. 28, 2022

YouTube, McCain Institute "Courage in American Leadership: A Conversation with Congresswoman Liz Cheney" post, (16:30) Oct. 5, 2022

Great Task PAC, "New Arizona Ad: Great Task Pac Launches ‘Honor,’" accessed Oct. 31, 2022

NBC News, "Liz Cheney launches TV ad targeting Arizona election deniers," Oct. 28, 2022

Email, The Great Task PAC spokesperson Jeremy Adler, Oct. 31, 2022

Email, Kari Lake campaign, Oct. 31, 2022

VoteFinchem.com, "Finchem Hits Back At Cheney For Running Ad Urging Arizonans Not To Vote For Gop Candidates," accessed Oct. 31, 2022

Associated Press, "Judge declines to require hand count of Arizona ballots in November election," Aug. 26, 2022

The Freedom Times, "Finchem Hits Back at Cheney for Running Ad Urging Arizonans Not to Vote for GOP Candidates," Oct. 28, 2022

New York Times, "It’s 2024. Trump Backers Won’t Certify the Election. What Next, Legally?", Oct. 28, 2022

CNN, "Kari Lake won't commit to accepting 2022 election results," Oct. 16, 2022 

Rumble, "VD6-6 Q&A Mark Finchem + Kari Lake Endorsed By Trump," (5:45) June 29, 2022

Axios, "Lake, Finchem suggest election fraud could affect Republican primary," July 12, 2022

PBS, "How election fraud conspiracies could make deep changes to Arizona voting," Oct. 20, 2022

NBC News, "These candidates say Trump won in 2020 — now they're running to oversee future elections," May 1, 2022

Arizona House of Representatives, "Representative Finchem Introduces Resolution to Set Aside & Decertify Three 2020 County Elections," Feb. 7, 2022

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In Arizona, GOP candidates Kari Lake and Mark Finchem won’t commit to accepting election results

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