On Monday, former President Donald Trump took to his Truth Social platform to rage that Kari Lake, the local news anchor turned QAnon-curious candidate for Arizona governor, appears headed for defeat in the election.
"I assume everyone is watching Arizona as the great Kari Lake’s easy election win is slowly, yet systematically, being drained away from her, and from the American people," wrote Trump. "This is a very sad thing to watch. Mail in Ballots, long election counts, many day elections, machines that very few people understand, massive counting centers, and more, are an American disaster."
"Our elections have become an unreliable joke, and the whole world is watching!" Trump concluded.
As of press time, Lake trails her opponent, Democratic Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, by 20,000 votes, although large numbers of ballots remain to count in the Phoenix suburbs in Maricopa County, and the Tucson area in Pima County.
Lake became highly controversial for her repeated false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, and for her decision to campaign with QAnon activists and Nazi sympathizers, including Greyson Arnold, a YouTuber who has claimed that Adolf Hitler was "misunderstood." She also refused preemptively to accept the results of her own election.
As more ballots have been counted, Lake has herself slammed election officials, calling her state's voting process a "laughingstock."
Midterms traditionally deliver a rejection of the party in power, and with inflation surging and President Joe Biden’s popularity in the doldrums, Republicans had been expecting to ride a mighty "red wave" and capture both houses of Congress.
But the wave never got much beyond a ripple and Democrat Mark Kelly was projected last week to win a tight Senate race in Arizona. Kelly called for unity in a victory speech on Saturday.
"After a long election, it can be tempting to remain focused on the things that divide us," he said.
"But we've seen the consequences that come when leaders refuse to accept the truth and focus more on conspiracies of the past than solving the challenges that we face today."
The former president was omnipresent on the campaign trail and the Republicans' poor national performance was a damaging political blow.
Trump's response to Kelly's victory was to double down on unfounded claims of ballot rigging, posting on his Truth Social platform that the Democrat's victory was a "scam" and the result of "voter fraud."
Trump is set to declare his 2024 White House bid on Tuesday -- an announcement he had planned as a triumphant follow-on to an expected crushing election victory by the party he still dominates.
With additional reporting by AFP