The Cost of Lies: Recorder Stephen Richer Makes the Ultimate Stand

By Ronald Sampson

Stephen Richer

In what is almost certainly one of the biggest blockbusters in party infighting in recent Arizona memory, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer has officially put his foot down in one of the most gutsy ways possible: he is suing Kari Lake for defamation.

You don’t need to be an insider (or even an Arizonan) to guess why. Since her election loss (and even beforehand, in a preemptive manner in order to assign blame if she were to lose), Lake took swings at nearly everyone on behalf of her strong ally, former President Donald Trump. It has even been said that she spends more time at Mar-a-Lago than Melania Trump as she continues to carry the torch of election denialism on behalf of Trump, unwittingly aware that Arizona voters rejected her for similar reasons that they rejected Trump in 2020.

So instead of utilizing a scintilla of self-reflection and intellectual honesty, she instead went on a finger-pointing warpath, and Recorder Richer has been a frequent target of her ire, as well as that of her many social media followers. It was enough to send County Supervisor Bill Gates into retirement.

The fuel for that fire was charges that the two of them were amongst the main collaborators in rigging the election so that she would lose; assuming two lifelong Republicans would collaborate to get a Democrat elected is completely absurd to anyone who knows anything about politics, but Lake depends on ignorance, and her voice has been effective in damaging trust in our elections.

Working elections in Maricopa County is notoriously difficult, and that fact truly crosses party lines. Regardless of who is in charge and who is doing the counting, there are snafus every election cycle, and every election cycle people complain about how long it takes to count all the votes, as if their memory only goes back one year and everything before that is a black box of information, nary to be remembered again.

Richer has always been a staunch conservative and a thoroughly decent person, especially by political standards. I’m confident that this was not an easy decision for him to make, but it was absolutely a necessary one. Not only are the general allegations from Lake the height of absurdity, but her vitriol and relentlessness is much less a scorned former candidate and much more sociopathic. Lake is a bully, and as the old adage goes, there’s only one way to deal with a bully: with a fist (metaphorically speaking in this case, of course).

My very strong hope is that it is a very successful lawsuit and that Lake has to pay a sky-high price for this. Perhaps it will be just the start of similar lawsuits, but more importantly, perhaps that will also mean the beginning of the end for her brand of politics. Enough is enough.