Senate hopeful Kari Lake says she aims to unite Arizona GOP after getting key endorsement

Feb 14, 2024, 1:00 PM

PHOENIX – Kari Lake said Wednesday a new endorsement from the U.S. Senate Republican fundraising arm is a sign that she can unite the party in Arizona.

Lake told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show that the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s endorsement is as important as an endorsement from Donald Trump.

“President Trump’s endorsement is very powerful, as you know, but this is the campaign and fundraising arm of the Senate GOP, and this is the huge arm of power that can help a candidate in those so-important tight races where you need to have that strength to push the candidate over the finish line,” she said.

Politico reported Tuesday that the NRSC will hold a fundraiser for Lake in Washington on March 6. The website said the group’s backing indicates that Lake is making inroads in winning over the establishment wing of the party.

Kari Lake has rubbed some Republicans the wrong way

Lake, a former local TV news anchor, won the GOP nomination for governor in 2022 but lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs in the general election. She rose to political prominence on the strength of her unwavering support for Trump and confrontational style, but she rubbed some moderate Arizona Republicans, aka the John McCain wing, the wrong way while doing so.

One such Republican, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, even filed a defamation lawsuit against her over allegations she made about his role in the 2022 election.

She also got on the wrong side of former state GOP Chair Jeff DeWit, who resigned in January after audio was leaked of him apparently offering Lake a financial incentive to stay out of the 2024 Senate race. DeWit said in his resignation announcement that he thinks Lake set him up.

Lake said Wednesday she’s been “working very hard behind the scenes” to promote unity.

“Will I be successful at the end of the day? I hope so,” she said. “Will there be a few people who still never want to get behind me? Probably so.

“But I’m still going to continue to … offer that olive branch to everybody so that we can come together as a united, strong Republican Party.”

Lake acknowledged that the Arizona GOP hasn’t always been on the same page.

“When we come together as Republicans, we agree on 95% of everything, and we have a tendency to focus on that 5% we disagree with and never get anything done, and we just are at each other’s throats,” she said.

“And, so, I want to bring this party together. I truly do, and this is one of the reasons the NRSC endorsed me. They recognize me as somebody who is trying to unite the party.”

What hurdles does Kari Lake face in 2024 election?

Even before the NRSC endorsed her, Lake was considered the front-runner to win the GOP nomination in this year’s race for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s seat. She said she feels “very strongly” that she will defeat Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb in the July 30 primary.

But her likely Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, has a potent fundraising machine in place. Gallego entered 2024 with a war chest of over $6.5 million, six times more than what Lake’s campaign had in the bank.

Sinema, meanwhile, has yet to announce if she plans to seek reelection. The independent would only have until early April to collect enough signatures to make it onto the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

“I think I’ve got the Senate behind me,” Lake said. “They want me to be the next senator from the state of Arizona, and we’re going make sure that we’re pushing policies that are actually going to make life better.”

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Senate hopeful Kari Lake says she aims to unite Arizona GOP after getting key endorsement