JIM SHARPE

Meghan McCain won’t forgive Kari — but Lake better hope plenty of other moderates do

Feb 22, 2024, 2:00 PM

This morning on the radio, we brought you the results of a Noble Predictive Insights poll that shows, if the election were held today, who would win Arizona’s U.S. Senate race. 

Because it could decide if Republicans wrest back control of the Senate and because it could end up being a highly-unusual three-way race, our Senate election is being watched from coast-to-coast. 

But what one of the candidates in that race said this week, and the reaction to it from the daughter of a late Arizona senator, is being watched around the globe. 

While that tiff is not what led pollster Mike Noble to say, “Good luck to all of us in this election because we are going to need it,” I still think it’s 100% applicable to Kari Lake vs. Meghan McCain.

But first, Noble’s poll — which shows that Lake, a Republican, should do something (anything!) to get independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to enter the race — because it increases Lake’s chances of beating Democrat Ruben Gallego. 

In a head-to-head battle, Gallego leads Lake by 10 points: 47% to 37% (with 16% undecided) — but in a three-way race that includes Sinema, Gallego is only up by three points over Lake (34% for Gallego, 31% for Lake and 23% for Sinema) and three points is within this poll’s margin of error.

This is mainly because a lot of the independent voter support that Gallego enjoys in a two-way race floats over to Sinema in a three-way race. But Noble says it’s also because of what moderate Republicans do when Sinema’s added in: “There’s a chunk of moderate Republicans who would pick Gallego over Lake in a two-way matchup; Sinema over both of them in a three-way race and a bland, generic Republican over anyone — if the GOP would nominate one.”

They won’t — because the Noble poll shows that the decidedly un-bland, non-generic Lake will dominate the GOP primary.

But this poll also shows why Lake is trying so desperately to mend fences with the moderate Republicans she ticked off (and drove away from the party) during her 2022 run for governor.

There’s one moderate Republican who has no interest in kissing and making up, however — but it’s understandable when you consider that moderate Arizona Republicans are often referred to as “McCain Republican” and her name is Meghan McCain.

After claiming that yelling at McCain Republicans to “get the hell out of here” at a campaign rally followed by referring to the late Sen. John McCain as a “loser,” Lake told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Outspoken with Bruce and Gaydos that was just her way of kidding around. She was joshing the senator after he died.

Uh-huh.

McCain, the late senator’s daughter, told Outspoken that she’s not laughing. 

Desperately trying to not lose a second election in a row in her fledgling (and, so far, failing) political career, is forcing Lake to make nice with moderate Republicans. But it has such an air of desperation that it doesn’t smell even remotely genuine.

Or maybe Lake’s apologies are coming too soon (kinda like her post-mortem McCain “jokes”). But I don’t think McCain is going to be in a forgiving mood anytime during this election cycle.

And since the elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party, it only makes sense that they have looong memories. 

“People remember and people loved him very much and loved what he stood for,” McCain said of her father. “I know that she thinks I’m just going to come to her and somehow, like, wanna make it okay — but if she is looking for absolution, she should go to her priest, not me!”  

This latest poll doesn’t look good for Lake, but by the time November rolls around, Lake may gain enough moderate Republican (and independent) support that she goes on to win the Senate race. 

However, if we were to ask Noble to conduct a poll that polls only one moderate Republican voter — the one who doesn’t just think of herself as a McCain Republican but actually is a McCain Republican, Lake would come in fourth in a three-way race.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

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Meghan McCain won’t forgive Kari — but Lake better hope plenty of other moderates do