PHOENIX – An envelope that had been reported by the campaign of the Republican candidate for Arizona governor as containing a white powder was thrown away before it could be analyzed, and no powder was found in two other letters the campaign turned over to authorities, officials said.
An analysis by the state public health lab of the two subsequent letters sent to Kari Lake's campaign office showed “there was no powder present and no harmful substance in either of the envelopes, but the two letters contained additional derogatory and vulgar statements," Phoenix Police spokesperson Donna Rossi said in an overnight statement.
Lake's campaign security chief Scott Masino said in a statement provided Saturday that the first envelope containing a “white powdery substance along with a hateful letter” was tossed into the trash by a campaign volunteer who did not report it to security until the bin had been emptied.
The same volunteer later came across two other suspicious envelopes that resembled the first one because of similar vulgar messages on the outside, the police statement said. They were unopened when they were turned over for analysis.
“We have since learned that those two remaining letters had no substances inside, as the first did,” said the statement from Lake's security chief. “We remain incredibly thankful for law enforcement's dedicated work on this case to keep our office and our staff safe.”
Initial reports about the discovery of suspicious mail by the Lake campaign last weekend mentioned only the first envelope, and nothing was said at the time about it being tossed into the trash and carted away before it could be studied.
Phoenix police and fire officials said they were called to the building last weekend on a report of an envelope containing suspicious white powder.
Police said at the time that there were no reports of injuries or illness, though Lake’s campaign had said the staff member who opened the envelope was under medical supervision.
The gubernatorial race between Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs in the crucial battleground state remained too early to call as of Saturday morning. It often takes days to know the results of key races in Arizona.