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Is Kari Lake Politically Dead?

Kari Lake. Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.
Kari Lake speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Dillon Precision in Scottsdale, Arizona.

What Is the Future of Arizona Republican Kari Lake? Chalk her up as another sore loser.

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Candidate for governor of Arizona in 2022, Kari Lake had confidently predicted she would win two terms in office and made a vow to make things a “nightmare” for journalists who would cover her expected reign.

But this all came to naught.

Yes, there was difficulty voting in Maricopa County due to various technical errors and Lake tried to file a lawsuit, which is her right, but she lost her legal challenge too.

The only bright side would be to become a pundit on Fox News, Newsmax, or One America News and beat the MAGA drum.

Plotting Her Comeback

Lake has plenty of experience in television so she could return to broadcast news.

A former local TV anchor, Lake gave provocative speeches serving up heaping amounts of red meat to the MAGA base, but that combative personality did not sit well with independent voters.

She lost her general election in a nail biter to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs 50.3 percent to 49.6 percent. The two were separated by about 17,000 votes. Lake should be given credit for making it close in a state that has become bluer in recent years.

She Instilled Passion in Supporters and Detractors

She often filled large venues for her campaign rallies and improved her national profile by extolling Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” movement of election denial. Trump endorsed her and that gave her a needed bump to forge her political brand. 

Lake Tried to Run a “Guerrilla” Campaign

Lake also ran a groundbreaking campaign because she did not rely on consultants or extensive television ads. She figured she already had good name recognition and thought she could build on a unique telegenic ability to put her over the top.

She only had a few campaign workers who were in their twenties and in hindsight she should have used a more traditional structure instead of running as an insurgent without a conventional campaign strategy.

Just Another Failed Election Denier 

The Arizona firebrand took her election denial to court after the election and claimed that ballot printing problems and “chain of custody” issues with ballots disenfranchised voters and forced her to lose the close election.

Lake wanted the court to overturn the election. She insisted that someone at the polling places intentionally rigged the printers to malfunction, but the judge ruled this was simply an accident due to a technical error that had no nefarious causes.

Lake lost her legal challenge.

Try to Run Again

Lake could definitely run again for governor or another office. U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema is likely to run again in 2024, although she hasn’t officially declared. That could be a seat that Lake could go for.

Lake has excellent name recognition although her volatile style does not go over well with about 50 percent of Arizona voters.

Emulating Trump’s Bombastic Style Is Not a Winning Formula

Lake needs to work on her likability. She was another Trump acolyte who was defeated in a statewide race in Arizona. Trumper Blake Masters also lost his quest for the U.S. Senate in the southwest state. Both were seen as extreme candidates. Lake has also been associated with election denial, especially after she refused to concede her race for governor and filed a legal challenge.

Voters are becoming tired of sore losers.

There is even a movement now started by the pro-democracy nonprofits Election Reformers Network, Carter Center, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, to encourage candidates to pledge to concede if it looks like a loss is inevitable. Voters want a peaceful transfer of power after the January 6 insurrection.

Keep Her Name in the News

So, it comes down to two choices for Lake. Work as a political pundit in broadcast media, which she is qualified for, or run for office again statewide. She may do both to keep her name in the news. She has a statewide network of supporters, a large social media following, and a long fund raising list. These are advantages for another run.

On the downside, she must improve her standing with independents and Hispanics, plus moderate her stances in general elections to attract a bigger coalition of voters to win.

You will probably see more of Kari Lake, who shows no signs of giving up her political career.     

Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.