It was a bizarre video that went viral last week: Two candidates running for the same Senate seat next year happened upon one another in an airport and had an animated conversation.
According to the New York Times, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who are both running for the U.S. Senate seat in that state next year, were recently on the same plane flying from Washington to Phoenix.
Candidates on a Plane
On the plane, the Democrat posted to X, formerly Twitter, that he and his future opponent were both on the aircraft.
“Hey @KariLake we’re on the same plane! Just come back from first class to coach and we can chat,” Gallego posted to the platform, shortly after Lake had ripped him for calling the proposed border wall “racist.”
“Happy to walk you through all my legislative work to deliver key resources to AZ’s border communities,” he continued.
Once the plane landed in Arizona, a video emerged of Lake confronting Gallego, at what appeared to be outside of a men’s room.
In the 93-second video, Lake — who seemed to have put on a lapel microphone for the occasion — harangued Gallego about the border.
“It’s going to be a knockdown drag out [fight], and unfortunately our border is wide open,” Lake tells Gallego in the video. “You and Krysten [Sinema] have had a lot of time to do something about it, and even the Democrats are upset about it.”
“There’s a lot we could still do. We’ve been doing some good work. I think there’s some common ground we could find on that,” Gallego replied. “Look, I think we need to figure out how to get people here legally, so they can go through the legal matter.”
“We’ve got plenty of people here! We have plenty of people here right now,” Kari Lake said. “We have millions of people here right now.”
Lake then told bystanders that the person she was talking to was Gallego, then declaring that under former President Trump, “we had a secure border.”
Lake, a former news anchor, is scheduled to announce Tuesday that she is officially running for the Senate. The announcement wil come as she has reportedly continued to hold out hope that she might be chosen by Donald Trump as his vice presidential pick. Lake, a staunch Trump ally, had also followed the former president in refusing to admit defeat in her 2022 race for governor. Trump has also reportedly intervened to discourage Blake Masters, who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in that state in 2022, from running for the seat himself.
Bad News for Kari Lake
This week, the first poll surfaced of the potential three-way race among Kari Lake, Gallego, and incumbent Sen. Krysten Sinema, who was formerly a Democrat but has become an independent; Sinema has not officially announced that she’s running for re-election. The poll shows Gallego in front, with the caveat that the poll was commissioned by his campaign.
According to Public Policy Polling, hired by Gallego’s campaign to conduct the poll, Gallego has 41 percent support, compared to 36 percent for Lake and just 15 percent for Sinema, with 8 percent undecided.
The poll also shows Gallego ahead against other potential Republican candidates, including Mark Lamb and Blake Masters. In the event that Sinema doesn’t run and it’s just Gallego against Kari Lake, the poll has Gallego ahead of Lake 48 percent to 43.
Arizona is seen as a swing state but has largely trended Democratic in recent cycles, especially since the death of the state’s longtime Republican senator, John McCain. Sinema, then a Democrat, was elected to one of the state’s Senate seats in 2018, while Sen. Mark Kelly won in 2022 for a full term in the other seat. Katie Hobbs defeated Lake to become Arizona’s first Democratic governor in many years.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.