Republican Kari Lake says she intends to launch a campaign for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who left the Democratic Party to become an independent last year.
Lake told The Wall Street Journal she would make the announcement on Oct. 10 at a rally. If she wins the Republican primary, she will likely face Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., who announced his plans to run for the seat earlier this year. He has so far faced little opposition from other Democrats.
It is unclear if Sinema will run for the seat as an independent.
This seat could determine “which party controls the U.S. Senate,” per The Wall Street Journal.
Currently in the Senate, Democrats hold the majority with a 51-49 advantage, but that includes three senators who are independents who caucus with the Democrats, including Sinema, per The Associated Press.
Though Sinema switched to become an independent at the end of 2022, she has still voted largely in favor of President Joe Biden’s executive and judicial nominations, per PBS.
Another Republican candidate, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, is also running for the Arizona GOP Senate nomination, but has experienced difficulty gaining momentum.
Lake’s ongoing support of former President Trump
Lake was the Republican nominee for Arizona governor in 2022. Before that, she had a long career as a broadcast journalist. She is known as an outspoken supporter of former President Donald Trump.
A spokeswoman for Gallego, Hannah Goss, was critical of Lake, saying, “Her extremism should disqualify her from public office — and it will. Again,” per The Wall Street Journal.
Due to frequent appearances on behalf of Trump’s 2024 campaign, rumors began to circulate that she could be selected to be his running mate, per the Deseret News. She called the rumors a “creation of the media,” and said, “I don’t know that President Trump’s floating anybody for VP right now.”
In a Sept. 27 X post, Lake wrote in support of the former president during the last Republican presidential debate, saying, “Trump is 2,295 miles away from the debate stage, & he’s all these people can talk about. This is a pointless screaming match between unserious people in serious times. Even in his absence, President Trump has made it clear he’s the only person qualified to beat @joebiden.”
The legal battle on governor election loss
After narrowly losing the Arizona governor race to Katie Hobbs in 2022, Lake claimed the election results were illegitimate, per CBS. On Sept. 16, Arizona county recorder Stephen Richer filed a lawsuit against Lake for defamation.
She has continued to speak publicly about election fraud, and in a Sept. 16 X post wrote, “County officials intentionally sabotaged the 2022 General Election, then gave false testimony attempting to cover up their misconduct.”
The Wall Street Journal reported, “Some Republicans say she is a charismatic candidate who can win if she focuses on conservative policies, such as border security, and talks less about the election.”
Lake believes the federal government should stop giving aid to Ukraine and pass appropriation bills decreasing federal spending. She told The Wall Street Journal, “We’ve shut down before, we’ve survived.”
She also opposes a federal abortion ban, as she believes that determination should belong to individual states. She supports Arizona’s 15-week ban.
Arizona is one of the country’s most politically divided states, and has seen a recent rise in independent voter registrations. It has been a swing state in many recent presidential elections, and next year this Senate race could determine which party controls the upper chamber.