From news anchor to the Republicans’ pick for governor, Trump-endorsed candidate Kari Lake is dividing the Arizona GOP with her extreme ideas.
Lake recently won the nomination against lawyer and businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson, who mostly self-funded her campaign and had the endorsements of Former Vice President Mike Pence, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Not all Republicans in the party were eager to see Lake in the running for the governor’s seat. Noam Lee, Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association, says, “Kari Lake is a diehard MAGA extremist who has centered her campaign on far-right conspiracy theories and dangerous policies.” Lee also described the candidate as “too extreme and too dangerous for Arizona.”
Lake’s policies regarding the Second Amendment and reproductive health care are typically very right leaning (i.e. more guns, less abortions), but more unnerving is her election denying rhetoric.
Lake has repeated Trump’s election fraud conspiracy to no end, making it a focal point of her campaign. One of her proposals as governor includes eliminating Dominion voting machines in Maricopa County, where half of all Arizona voters live, and terminating all forms of mail voting statewide. Her ideal election is a one-day, in-person process with officials counting millions of ballots by hand. State officials, Republicans included, have warned that counting all ballots by hand would make it impossible to meet statutory deadlines, warnings which Lake continues to disregard.
Lake received endorsements from fellow election conspiracy theorists like MyPillow founder Mike Lindell and treason enthusiast, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Upon receiving Flynn’s endorsement, Kari posted on her Twitter, “I am so honored to receive the endorsement of General Michael Flynn. He is a true patriot who loves this country.
With men like General Flynn and President Trump by my side, we can’t lose.”
In June 2021, Flynn appeared onstage at a conference where an audience member asked why a military coup “can’t happen here,” like the one in Myanmar that year. Flynn’s response was, “No reason, I mean, it should happen here. No reason.” Flynn has since retracted his statement. During his testimony for the Jan 6th Committee, however, when Liz Cheney asked, “Do you believe in the peaceful transition of power in the United States of America,” Flynn pleaded the Fifth.
Leading up to the Republican primary, Lake asserted that there were signs of fraud and told her supporters not to trust the primary results unless she won. She prematurely declared herself the winner on August 3rd before all votes were tabulated.
“We out-voted the fraud, we didn’t listen to what the fake news had to say,” Lake told reporters.
Lake even called for the arrest of her Democratic opponent Katie Hobbs for her role in certifying the 2020 election, claiming she “broke laws” as Arizona’s Secretary of State. So far, Lake and her attorney Tim La Sota have refused to provide proof for their claims.
Lake said that if she were governor in 2020, she would not have certified Biden’s victory. Conversely, Secretary Hobbs defends the integrity of the 2020 election results.
Efforts within Lake’s own party are already underway and seeking to derail her campaign.
An anti-Trump Republican group has formed the Republican Accountability PAC, which has set aside $2 million for a TV and digital ad campaign against candidates who promote false claims about the 2020 election. The PAC has already spent $100,000 worth of airtime and plans to buy more as the general election approaches with the possibility open to spending more than the initial $2 million.
Gunner Ramer, the PAC’s political director, says Arizona is a top priority for the PAC because of Lake, whom he said is chief among “the terrible anti-democracy slate of candidates.” He adds that having Lake in a position to certify the 2024 election “could lead to something catastrophic for our democracy.”
In an August 4th statement on Lake’s victory, Secretary Hobbs said, “This race for governor isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s a choice between sanity and chaos.”