Due to a wide variety of circumstances, Arizona in 2024 will likely have the nation’s only three-way Senate contest in which there are three different viable candidates. The incumbent, Sen. Krysten Sinema (I-AZ), was elected as a Democrat but has since switched to independent, while Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), who was planning to challenge Sinema before her party switch, is the likely Democratic candidate. And Kari Lake, who lost her race for governor of the state in 2022, is running on the Republican ticket, with some opposition.
This race could go in any direction, depending on whether Sinema siphons more votes from Democrats or Republicans; in fact, the incumbent has not officially announced that she’s running, although she is expected to eventually.
Early Polls for Kari Lake Aren’t Good
Now, there’s news of a poll that shows Gallego winning.
According to MSNBC, which cited reporting by Punchbowl News, Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT), who is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, recently brandished an internal poll of the Arizona race, which showed Gallego winning, in a closed-door meeting.
Per the poll, Gallego has 41 percent support, followed by Lake with 37 percent and Sinema with just 17 percent.
The report stated that Daines told his fellow senators in a meeting that “Sinema is currently pulling more votes from Lake than she is from Gallego,” but that they can change the dynamic by emphasizing Sinema’s “support for the Biden administration.” That “support,” however, has entailed Sinema opposing some key Biden initiatives, and ultimately choosing to leave the president’s party.
The Punchbowl reporter, Andrew Desiderio, added on X that “Sen. Lindsey Graham stood up during the meeting and said Lake is going to be the GOP nominee in Arizona, so Republicans need to help her campaign.”
Gallego and Lake Butt Heads
An RNC spokesperson told NBC that the poll has a margin for error of 4.4 percent, which makes it a “statistical tie” between Gallego and Kari Lake.
“Even Senate Republicans’ poll agrees: Ruben Gallego is best positioned to win this race, go to the U.S. Senate, and continue his work of delivering for Arizonans by cutting costs, protecting our water future, and taking care of our veterans,” a Gallego spokesperson told MSNBC.
Lake and Gallego, last month, wound up on the same flight, from Washington to Phoenix, and then had a confrontation with each other in the airport.
“Hey @KariLake we’re on the same plane! Just come back from first class to coach and we can chat,” Gallego posted to X during the flight. “Happy to walk you through all my legislative work to deliver key resources to AZ’s border communities.”
Once the plane landed, a 90-second video was posted of the two candidates arguing.
“It’s going to be a knockdown drag out [fight], and unfortunately our border is wide open,” Lake is seen telling 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.”
A previous poll, albeit one commissioned by Gallego’s campaign, showed the Democrat leading with 41 percent support, followed by Lake with 36 percent and Sinema with 15 percent. Gallego was also shown leading other potential Republican candidates in the race, should Lake not win the primary.
Lake, who had been seen as a potential vice presidential pick by former President Donald Trump, was endorsed by Trump shortly after she announced she was running for the Senate.
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.