Kari Lake looking to capitalize on her move after Arizona loss

PHOENIX (AP) — Brett Foto and his fiancée heard about a rally nearby while vacationing in Phoenix last fall. Kali Lakeand then ran for Governor of Arizona.

Even if they don’t live in Arizona or vote. Lake, an emerging star of the populist right, was changing her place, so they had to meet her.

Foto, a 52-year-old sales representative living outside Denver, said, “We’re going to look back and say, ‘I saw her when we went to this little hangar in Phoenix.'”

the lake continued lose the race to the Democratic Party Katie Hobbes, a setback that typically hinders political ambitions. Among conservatives, however, the defeat did little to undermine Lake’s standing. If anything, her refusal to acknowledge her loss only increases her height well beyond Arizona.

In the months after the election, Lake showed up at former President Donald Trump’s Florida mansion and palatial California hotel, where she lobbied members of the Republican National Committee to defeat Speaker Ronna McDaniel. but failed. Her recent move in Iowa has sparked speculation about whether she will run for president or seek a role as Trump’s running mate if she wins the Republican nomination again.

Wherever she is, she has doubled down on formulas that have captivated Republican supporters but have been rejected by wider voters: an unwavering loyalty to Trump, a relentless focus on baseless allegations of election fraud, and a grim story about securing the US-Mexico border by force. .

Lake will get another chance to show his ties to Republican constituencies next month with a key address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.

“She speaks MAGA,” says Chuck Coughlin, a longtime Arizona political consultant and one of former Gov. Jan Brewer’s top advisers, on Trump’s “make America great again.” Said referring to the slogan. “She’s better than Trump in many ways. She’s a culture warrior. She expresses their fears and anxieties about the fate of her country.”

Meanwhile, Lake continues to fight her loss in the Arizona Court of Appeals. rejected her election challenge Thursday. She vowed to take her case to the state Supreme Court, and this month she held a campaign-style rally to draw attention to her case.

“Kalli Lake is the total package. She’s clear. She’s confident. She’s beautiful, but I don’t mean it in a threatening way,” said Linda Greulich, a 70-year-old retiree from Phoenix. Told. “If she wants to stay in politics, I think she’ll be at the top all the way.”

Activity has spiked as Lake considers running for the US Senate seat currently held by Kirsten Cinema. Independent former DemocratShe recently met with officials from the National Republican Senate Committee in Washington.

Republicans are ahead of Democrats in Arizona, but have struggled to win in the Trump era. The Republican Party suffered her third straight loss in the Arizona Senate election. That’s because voters, mostly Republicans and splitting the vote, refused to vote for candidates who are closely aligned with Trump.

According to the AP VoteCast, a large survey of more than 3,200 voters in Arizona, 11% of voters who identify as Republicans voted for Mr. Hobbes last year, compared to Democrats who voted for Mr. Lake. was only 4%.

Cinema has not disclosed whether she will run for a second term. monumental impact About the battle for control of the Senate. Democrats are concerned that a three-way race between cinema, Democrats, and Republicans will disrupt a formula that has worked so well for them, opening the mouths of candidates like Lake.

Other Republicans considering running include Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb. Also considering bids are 2022 Senate or Gubernatorial candidates Jim Ramon, Blake Masters, and Karin Taylor-Robson.

Lake seeks to put behind claims of election fraud that have proven toxic in battleground states such as Arizona, where Lake and three other Trump-backed Republicans lost their election campaigns. It is rebelling against Republicans who say. She told Iowans, who are proud of their role in scrutinizing presidential candidates, to put pressure on candidates “where they stand in a stolen election.”

“We need to make sure that all of these candidates think the integrity of the election is their biggest issue,” she said.

Lake was a newscaster for the Phoenix marketplace for nearly 30 years. She left the Fox affiliate in 2021 and said journalism had strayed into advocacy. induced.

She has documented all her interactions with reporters, posted controversial interactions on social media, and won praise from her fans.

Since her loss, money has continued to pour in for Lake. Her campaign has raised $2.6 million from Election Day through the end of the year. The largest amount of money was raised on the day Hobbes campaigned.

She raised more money through a nonprofit her adviser founded in December. The organization does not require disclosure of donation details, making it her primary source of funding.

Photo, who met Lake while on vacation in Arizona, is undeterred by his loss to Hobbes and hopes to run for public office again.

“I pray that it happens and I pray it for this country,” Foto said by phone. I think we need someone like that.”