Disclaimer: This article may contain the personal views and opinions of the author.
Former President Donald Trump may no longer be in office, but his influence lives on. His endorsement still carries a great deal of weight. One of the well-known recipients of his endorsement is Kari Lake. She is the Republican gubernatorial candidate from Arizona that is looking to oust her Democrat opponent, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), in the upcoming midterm elections. She has also taken a stalwart lead in the polls.
It is now being reported by Axios that:
Democratic Party strategists are watching Arizona’s Kari Lake with growing alarm.
Why it matters: As some see it, Lake — a 2020 election denier — could easily win the state’s gubernatorial race and threaten its 2024 election processes. And with the talent she’s already displayed even as a political novice, they see her potential to soar to a vice presidential spot or a post-Trump presidential candidacy.
Zoom in: Of this year’s midterm elections slate of “ultra MAGA” candidates, Lake has perhaps the best chance of winning.
- The polls are neck-and-neck. Some Democrats are venting frustration that Katie Hobbs is not presenting a stronger challenge to Lake. Hobbs has refused to debate Lake, which some say signals fear and amounts to “political malpractice.”
What they’re saying: David Plouffe, the architect of Barack Obama’s 2008 victory, told Axios that Lake looks like a “plausible presidential candidate.”
- David Axelrod, another key former Obama adviser, offered this assessment of Lake’s 20+ years in Arizona local TV before her entrance last year into politics: “If you get a candidate who has the performance skills of a major-market local TV anchor and the philosophy and thinking of Steve Bannon, that’s a potent and dangerous combination. … Look at Italy.”
Axios went on to report that:
Former President Trump’s advisers view Lake as the most politically potent of the “stop the steal” candidates. She is every bit as hardcore an election denier as Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano but infinitely more suited to the age of social media videos and quick TV hits.
- Lake is skilled at creating viral moments by dressing down reporters and eviscerating the mainstream media.
- The 53-year-old former news anchor left journalism altogether in 2021, saying she didn’t like how much media has changed since she started.
Behind the scenes: Lake has other advantages that are less visible. Unlike Mastriano, she has been embraced by top figures in the Republican establishment. She is benefiting from their money and connections.
- Doug Ducey, Arizona’s outgoing GOP governor and chair of the Republican Governors Association, opposed Lake in her primary. But now, he’s backing her with great energy.
- Lake has also charmed Arizona GOP donors, including members of the state’s political establishment, according to sources who have witnessed the interactions.
- In private meetings and on calls with donors, RGA officials have made clear they are prepared to spend aggressively to get Lake across the finish line. “Voters have a clear choice and we’re confident they’ll make Kari Lake their next governor,” RGA spokesman Jesse Hunt told Axios.
Insider went on to report that:
Hobbs, the Arizona secretary of state running for governor, defended her decision not to debate her Republican opponent, Kari Lake.
The move has been criticized by Democrats who have maintained that Hobbs should have debated Lake, a Trump-endorsed candidate who routinely pushes debunked claims about voter fraud.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, host Dana Bash asked Hobbs about her decision, quoting an opinion piece by The Arizona Republic’s Laurie Roberts, who wrote that “Hobbs’ refusal to debate her opponent on Wednesday represents a new level of political malpractice.”
"A lot of Democrats are questioning your decision."@DanaBashCNN asks Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Arizona Katie Hobbs why she refuses to debate her Republican opponent Kari Lake. @CNNSotu #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/VAR47wwXMa— CNN (@CNN) October 16, 2022
“Why won’t you debate her?” Bash asked Hobbs.
“Look, Kari Lake has made it clear time and time again that she’s not interested in having substantive, in-depth conversations about the issues that matter to Arizonans. She only wants a scenario where she can control the dialogue, and she’s refused to sit down in a one-on-one, lengthy conversation to really clarify with Arizonans where she is on the issues. She’s the one who’s afraid of talking to voters where she’s at,” Hobbs said.
Kari Lake has been generating press for a while now. We had previously reported that Lake is even giving Ron DeSantis a run for his money; thankfully, for DeSantis, they are on the same team. Kari Lake and Ron DeSantis have been very outspoken about the raid at Mar-a-Lago. Kari Lake said during an interview with RSBN:
“This egregious, outrageous raid on a president’s home. This has been a witchhunt on President Trump since before day one.”
We had also reported on how recent refugee to the Republican party, Tulsi Gabbard, endorsed Lake for Governor, tweeting out that Kari Lake is a leader who puts people first, is fighting for border security, energy independence, public safety, and other policies that actually make life better and more affordable for the American people. Kari Lake isn’t afraid to call out the warmongering elitist cabal of permanent Washington and the Military Industrial Complex, and their propagandists in the mainstream media. I look forward to supporting @KariLake ahead of these critical midterm elections.