“Like most grown-ups, take your loss and accept it and move on,” Katie Hobbs told CNN. “Nothing that’s going on here is going to change the outcome, and, really, this is nothing more than being a sore loser.”
Republicans in Arizona’s State Senate are currently conducting a months-long audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, which Joe Biden won by about 11,000 votes. No evidence has indicated that the results were fraudulent, but Mr Trump insists that Democrats somehow stole the election – a falsehood that he’s likely to repeat at Saturday’s rally.
On CNN, reporter Jim Acosta asked Ms Hobbs how dangerous Mr Trump’s false claim is.
“Well, it is dangerous. I’m glad you pointed that out,” she replied. “But the bottom line is it doesn’t matter what he says or does. Nothing’s going to change the outcome of the 2020 election.”
Ms Hobbs, a Democrat who as secretary of state oversaw Arizona’s 2020 election, is currently running for governor of the state. The Republican vote audit, which polls have shown a plurality of Arizonans oppose, may have handed her a strong issue to campaign on.
Election experts have criticised the audit as badly mismanaged and driven by conspiracy theories. Reports have emerged of auditors scouring ballots for bamboo fibers – apparently because one theory posits, falsely, that fake ballots were flown in from South Korea.
Even some of the Republicans carrying out the audit have privately grumbled that it may backfire on them.
“It makes us look like idiots,” Republican state Senator Paul Boyer told The New York Times in May. “Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”
The company hired to conduct the audit, Cyber Ninjas, is currently sifting through 2.1 million ballots. It began its work in April, and quickly blew past its original 60-day deadline. It is not clear when it will finish.
“The bottom line is that Arizonans are tired of being led by conspiracy theorists,” she said. “They don’t support this fake audit, and they’re ready for leaders who are going to put those partisan games aside and deal with real issues.”