Republican Kari Lake announces entry into 2024 US Senate race in Arizona
Oct 10, 2023, 6:57 PM
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — Kari Lake is a statewide candidate in Arizona once again after announcing Tuesday she is running for U.S. Senate during a rally in Scottsdale.
The Republican, who lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs in the 2022 gubernatorial election, is looking to replace independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in what will be one of the more high-profile races in 2024.
Lake never conceded that she lost last year’s race for governor, but her entry into the Senate fray is a sign she’s moving on from what’s been a fruitless legal battle to overturn Hobbs’ 17,000-plus-vote victory.
The charismatic former television anchor joins Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb in the GOP primary field.
U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego is expected to be the Democratic nominee in a potential three-way showdown for the key swing-state seat. Sinema has not yet confirmed whether she’ll run for a second term, although she’s reportedly been preparing a reelection campaign.
How Kari Lake went from TV news to political prominence
Lake, who was well known in the Phoenix market from her years on TV before getting into politics, built an enthusiastic following among Republicans with her unflinching support for Donald Trump and her steadfast promotion of false claims of election fraud.
However, her allegiance to Trump could work against her electorally.
Until Trump’s presidency, Arizona had been a reliably Republican state since World War II. Republicans still maintain a registration edge over Democrats, but the GOP lost three consecutive Senate races and last year watched Democrats win the top state offices over a slate of Trump-endorsed election deniers, including Lake.
Lake will be favored over Lamb and any other Republican who decides to run. That worries some Republicans who fear she will cost them a race that could decide control of the Senate.
“Kari Lake can win, but she’s going to have to run a different campaign than she ran two years ago, and she’s going to have to become a serious candidate who talks about serious issues that everyday Republican and independent voters care about,” Chris Baker, an Arizona-based Republican political consultant, told The Associated Press. “And she hasn’t done a lot of that this year.”
What does polling say about Kari Lake’s general election chances?
According to polling conducted by Phoenix-based Noble Predictive Insights in July, Gallego leads in a potential head-to-head matchup with Lake as well as a potential three-way race that includes Sinema.
Lake trailed Gallego by 10 points in a head-to-head matchup, 45%-35%. A three-way race showed Gallego at 34%, Sinema at 26% and Lake at 25%, with 15% undecided.
“Arizonans know Kari Lake has dangerous views like banning abortion without exceptions, ending Medicare and Social Security, and pushing a host of fringe conspiracy theories,” Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Yolanda Bejarano said in a statement issued Tuesday in anticipation of Lake’s announcement.
“Lake’s Senate candidacy is Republicans’ worst nightmare — voters of every political persuasion have rejected her before and will do so again.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.