Kari Lake, the previous TV information anchor who constructed a marketing campaign on bashing the media as propagandists and selling falsehoods concerning the 2020 election, gained the GOP nomination for governor in Arizona on Thursday evening.
Lake will face Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the state’s chief elections officer, in November, establishing a showdown being framed as election denier versus election defender.
The Trump-backed former primetime anchor for a Phoenix Fox affiliate beat Karrin Taylor Robson, an actual property developer and lawyer endorsed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who’s term-limited.
Taylor Robson had an early lead after polls closed Tuesday, however Lake pulled forward in a single day as election day votes have been being counted. By Wednesday morning, Lake was main by fewer than 12,000 votes.
Lake gave a assured speech to supporters at her election evening celebration in Scottsdale whereas additionally baselessly casting doubt on the electoral system, the Arizona Republic reported.
“I wanted to come out here tonight [and] say, ‘Wow, we already have the final results,’” she mentioned. “But we know how our election systems work and they don’t work well. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m standing here.”
The GOP main for governor was seen as a proxy warfare between Trump and Ducey, who grew to become enemies after Ducey licensed the election for Joe Biden. Lake has mentioned that as governor, she wouldn’t have done the same in 2020, regularly calling the election “corrupt” and “stolen.” Joe Biden was the primary Democratic presidential candidate to hold Arizona in 24 years.
Trump campaigned for Lake final month, calling her a “truly great woman” on the rally on the identical day that Pence, extensively seen as gearing up for a 2024 presidential marketing campaign of his personal in opposition to Trump, campaigned for Taylor Robson.
A minor superstar in Arizona’s largest media market, Lake loved a steep early polling lead, however the race tightened after Ducey’s endorsement. Taylor Robson additionally poured greater than $15 million of her personal fortune into the race.
The matchup was closely nationalized round Trump in a diversifying state dealing with a water disaster and issues over border safety.
“[Taylor Robson] has a narrative about her campaign, which is distinctly different from Lake’s narrative. The only thing Lake talks about is stolen election and Trump and immigration. Karrin has a more nuanced narrative and expresses a more confident attitude about governing that you would expect Republican voters to respond to,” GOP strategist Chuck Coughlin informed HuffPost earlier than the first.
“But how high is the fever of Trumpism still in the Republican Party? That’s a risky bet.”
This is Lake’s first run for political workplace after a three-decade profession as a TV information anchor.
After what former co-workers described to HuffPost as a number of rocky years that roughly lined up with Trump’s presidency — when she started utilizing far-right social media platforms Parler and Gab — Lake left the station in 2021 and launched her marketing campaign for governor not lengthy after. Before swinging onerous to the correct, Lake was a supporter of Barack Obama and reportedly shared a “not my president” meme about Trump earlier than his inauguration.
Since leaving the media, Lake has known as the folks in her former career “corrupt” and “rotten,” and mentioned that some journalists deserve to be locked up.
Lake has campaigned alongside Mark Finchem, a Republican state senator who shares her fringe views on the 2020 electionand has the endorsement of plenty of far-right figures tied to Trump. Democrats who see that as a legal responsibility had boosted Lake in the primary within the hopes of getting a neater opponent to beat in November.
But with a Republican governor and GOP-controlled legislature and two Democratic U.S. senators, Arizona is thought for its impartial streak, giving both celebration an opportunity to win as Joe Biden’s approval slumps.
“Given where the electorate is at” — on points just like the U.S.-Mexico border and inflation — “I think the state leans Republican, even if Kari Lake is the nominee,” mentioned Kirk Adams, a former chief of employees to Ducey and former speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives.
“For those Democrats or progressives hoping for a Lake nomination, be careful what you wish for, because you could end up with Governor Lake,” he mentioned.