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 night time.
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 night time get together in Scottsdale whereas additionally baselessly casting doubt on the electoral system, the Arizona Republic reported.
“I needed to come back out right here tonight [and] say, ‘Wow, we have already got the ultimate outcomes,’” she mentioned. “However we all know how our election methods work and so they don’t work effectively. And that’s one of many the explanation why I’m standing right here.”
The GOP main for governor was seen as a proxy struggle 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 completed the identical in 2020, continuously 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 “actually nice girl” 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 movie star 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 going through a water disaster and issues over border safety.
“[Taylor Robson] has a story about her marketing campaign, which is distinctly totally different from Lake’s narrative. The one factor Lake talks about is stolen election and Trump and immigration. Karrin has a extra nuanced narrative and expresses a extra assured perspective about governing that you’d count on Republican voters to answer,” GOP strategist Chuck Coughlin advised HuffPost earlier than the first.
“However how excessive is the fever of Trumpism nonetheless within the Republican Occasion? That’s a dangerous wager.”
That 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. Earlier than swinging laborious to the best, 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 individuals in her former career “corrupt” and “rotten,” and mentioned that some journalists need 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 quite a lot of far-right figures tied to Trump. Democrats who see that as a legal responsibility had boosted Lake within the main within the hopes of getting a better opponent to beat in November.
However with a Republican governor and GOP-controlled legislature and two Democratic U.S. senators, Arizona is thought for its impartial streak, giving both get together an opportunity to win as Joe Biden’s approval slumps.
“Given the place the citizens is at” — on points just like the U.S.-Mexico border and inflation — “I believe the state leans Republican, even when Kari Lake is the nominee,” mentioned Kirk Adams, a former chief of workers to Ducey and former speaker of the Arizona Home of Representatives.
“For these Democrats or progressives hoping for a Lake nomination, watch out what you would like for, since you might find yourself with Governor Lake,” he mentioned.