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Gov. Ducey: 'Feeling is mutual' when responding to Kelli Ward tweet telling him to 'shut the hell up'

During a news conference on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey responded to a rather confrontational tweet made by Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward on the certification of the November election.

On Nov. 30, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs certified the election, which formalized President-elect Joe Biden's narrow victory over incumbent President Donald Trump in spite of baseless claims by Trump's lawyers of electoral fraud.

In the final tally, Biden won by 10,457 votes, 0.3 percent of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast. Eleven Democratic electors will meet Dec. 14 to formally pledge Arizona’s electoral votes to Biden.

After the certification, Gov. Ducey made a series of tweets defending Arizona's voting process.

Ward would later criticize Gov. Ducey on Twitter. In a reply to the tweets made by Ducey, Ward wrote "#STHU #ElectionIntegrity is missing in Arizona."

According to dictionary.com, STHU is an internet acronym that means "shut the hell up."

During the news conference, a reporter asked Gov. Ducey for a response to what Ward tweeted.

"I think what I would say is the feeling's mutual to her, and practice what you preach," Gov. Ducey responded.

Trump, campaign lawyers continue to press baseless claims of fraud

County election officials agreed on Wednesday to expand their inspection of certain ballots in metro Phoenix that are being challenged in a Republican lawsuit that seeks to reverse Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

Ward, who filed a lawsuit contesting the election results, is looking for irregularities among the nearly 28,000 ballots in Maricopa County that were duplicated by elections officials because voters’ earlier ballots were damaged or couldn’t be tabulated. She requested a broader examination of the ballots after a court-ordered inspection of 100 duplicated ballots on Tuesday found two instances in which votes cast for Trump were canceled in the duplication process.

Before the judge could rule on Ward’s request at a court hearing, the county offered to review 2,500 additional duplicated ballots.

“We put on a great election on Nov. 3, and we are happy to have people look more closely at it,” said Tom Liddy, a lawyer representing county officials. “We have nothing to hide.”

Ward’s lawyers say the inspection of 100 ballots found that one person’s vote for Trump was ultimately recorded as a Biden vote and that another person’s vote for Trump was canceled when the reproduced ballot contained votes for both the Republican incumbent and a write-in candidate.

Bruce Spiva, a lawyer for the 11 Biden electors in Arizona who were sued by Ward, questioned whether the error rate for duplicated ballots would be so high that it could plausibly change how the state voted in the presidential race.

Roopali Desai, an attorney representing Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, said Ward’s lawsuit is a “fishing expedition” that doesn’t make any claims of pervasive fraud or intentional misconduct.

A trial has been scheduled for Thursday in Ward’s lawsuit.

No evidence of voter fraud or election fraud has emerged during this election season in Arizona. U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has said the Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the election.

Even though Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said earlier this week that Arizona’s election was well-run as he certified the Nov. 3 results, many GOP politicians in the state have mostly been silent or slow to express confidence in the election results that gave Biden a victory in Arizona.

Ward’s lawsuit claims some suburbs on the southeastern edge of Maricopa County had an unusually high number of duplicated ballots -- and that the election results in that area were “strongly inconsistent” with voter registration and historical voting data. Hobbs’ office has said there were 104 duplicated ballots cast in the area in question.

Four earlier election challenges in Maricopa County were dismissed, including one filed by the Arizona Republican Party that sought to determine whether voting machines were hacked.

A new election challenge filed Wednesday by Trump’s electors in Arizona alleges that there were more than 400,000 illegal ballots counted in the state and criticizes the voting equipment used in metro Phoenix. The lawsuit was filed by firebrand conservative attorney Sidney Powell, who was removed from Trump’s legal team.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

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