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Adrian Fontes wants Abe Hamadeh to pay $36,000 for filing failed election lawsuit

Man in dark suit and red tie stands
Abraham "Abe" Hamadeh speaking with attendees at a meeting of the Arizona Legislative District 28 Republican Party at Westbrook Village in Peoria on Nov. 20, 2023.

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes wants a judge to award over $36,000 in sanctions against former Republican Attorney General candidate Abe Hamadeh for filing a failed lawsuit challenging the results of the 2022 election. 

Hamadeh, who is now running for Congress, narrowly lost that election to Democrat Kris Mayes. He later asked the court to remove Mayes from office, claiming he lost because Maricopa County did not properly verify signatures on mail-in ballots.

But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Susanna Pineda dismissed the case, finding Hamadeh’s lawsuit was groundless and brought in bad faith. She also granted a request for sanctions against Hamadeh and his attorney Ryan Heath.

“In addition to a finding that the claim was groundless, the imposition of sanctions … also requires proof that the election contest was filed ‘in bad faith.’ Here a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates the existence of bad faith in the filing of this ‘election challenge,’” Pineda wrote in the March 28 ruling.

Fontes’ lawyers asked the court for $36,820 in attorneys fees, saying those were the costs the Secretary of State’s Office incurred to defend against the lawsuit.

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Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.