Kari Lake ran for governor of Arizona in 2022 as a political neophyte previously known mostly for her work as a news anchor. At one point, near the end of the race, she even ripped the state’s best-known Republican statesman of the last half-century, the late Sen. John McCain, and said she didn’t want the support of “McCain Republicans.”
Lake lost that race, although she spent the better part of the next year claiming she hadn’t. Now, Lake is running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona, and her posture towards the national Republican party appears to be changing.
According to The Hill, Lake is “seeking support from the GOP establishment in Washington” as she ramps up her Senate campaign. This has entailed meeting with Republican senators. Lake has long been close with Donald Trump — who at this point could be considered the Republican establishment as he’s the likely presidential nominee for the third straight time — but less so with more established Washington figures.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) last week became the first elected member of Congress to endorse Lake for the Senate.
“This is going to be the most expensive campaign for office in Arizona history by a long shot, and Kari’s gonna need the resources of the national team to play at that level, so I believe that’s the main part of it,” Stan Barnes, an Arizona Republican consultant, told The Hill.
Trump has endorsed Lake for the Senate seat, which presumably means she will not be considered for the vice presidency on a Trump ticket in 2024.
Lake is running in a competitive Republican primary for the seat currently held by incumbent Sen. Krysten Sinema (I-AZ), a former Democrat who is now an independent, although she caucuses with the Democrats. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) is also running for the seat, in a likely three-way race, although Sinema has not officially declared that she’s running again.
There is some skepticism in Arizona about Lake’s pivot to the establishment.
“I don’t know that you would say that they’re coalescing, but I do believe there is and will be a flirtation because they understand in the case of national Republicans what’s at stake,” Arizona Republican consultant Jason Rose told The Hill. “But the national Republicans are, at the end of the day, aren’t going to make a huge difference unless it’s the more establishment Republicans in Arizona that are willing to give her another look.”
Mark Lamb, a sheriff, is also running for the Senate as a Republican, while Blake Masters, who ran for the state’s other Senate seat in 2020, had suggested a run but reportedly backed off after a phone call from Trump.
“Kari Lake can’t win an election and has not. Mark Lamb has,” Lamb’s spokesman told The Hill.
Also this week, in another factor that could move Lake past her election-denial roots, one of the candidate’s election lawsuits was tossed.
According to the AP, a federal appeals court has tossed a lawsuit filed by Lake “challenging the use of electronic tabulation systems” in Arizona.
The case, brought by Lake along with failed 2022 Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem, had been dismissed by another court previously.
The claims by the former candidates failed to demonstrate “a plausible inference that their individual votes in future elections will be adversely affected by the use of electronic tabulation, particularly given the robust safeguards in Arizona law, the use of paper ballots, and the post-tabulation retention of those ballots.”
Lake and Finchem were among the only candidates in 2022 who furiously contested their lost races and refused to concede defeat, as Trump had done after he lost the 2020 presidential election.
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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.