Speculation is already growing that recently minted Republican star Kari Lake may throw her hat in the ring and run for U.S. Senate in 2024, if her election challenge of the Arizona’s governor’s race does not go her way.
Lake, in her first run for political office, lost to now-Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs by 0.07 percent of the vote. Hobbs was serving as Arizona’s secretary of state at the time, and prior to that was the minority leader in the Arizona senate.
CNN’s Kate Sullivan stirred the waters Monday when she tweeted, “I’m told Kari Lake is considering running for the US Senate seat held by Kyrsten Sinema in 2024.”
I’m told Kari Lake is considering running for the US Senate seat held by Kyrsten Sinema in 2024.
— Kate Sullivan (@KateSullivanDC) January 16, 2023
The Lake campaign responded with a Tuesday statement on Twitter writing, “Kari is hyper-focused on winning her court case as she is the duly-elected Governor & her Election Case proves that.”
“Hundreds of thousands of invalid ballots were counted in Maricopa County alone, more than 60% of Election Day voting centers were sabotaged, causing lines of 4 hours or more at some locations, the wrong ballot image was printed on Election Day ballots causing tabulators to jam & spit out ballots,” the campaign said.
“Hundreds of thousands of invalid ballots were counted in Maricopa County alone, more than 60% of Election Day voting centers were sabotaged, causing lines of 4 hours or more at some locations, the wrong ballot image was printed on Election Day ballots causing tabulators to jam
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) January 17, 2023
The statement continued, “25K ballots were mysteriously added to the official vote count two days after the elections and more than 100K ballots with rejected signatures were counted anyway. That is just a BIT of what went wrong in Arizona.”
“Kari Lake is fighting to protect the sacred vote of the People of Arizona. It is true that dozens of people have reached out to Kari suggesting she run for US Senate. There have been several polls showing she is the strongest candidate and could win.
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) January 17, 2023
The campaign concluded by acknowledging recent polling suggests she could win the U.S. Senate race, but for now, “Kari Lake is fighting to protect the sacred vote of the People of Arizona.”
A survey conducted by Blueprint Polling earlier this month shows Lake is leading by 4 points over Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego and by 22 points over incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who switched from Democrat to independent last month.
“Kari Lake polls at 36 percent in a three-way Senate race with Gallego and Sinema. The congressman follows closely at 32 percent while the incumbent polls less than 14 percent. One in six voters are undecided,” a Blueprint Polling news release stated.
In other words, Lake could be the beneficiary of the Democrats duking it out for the left, center-left vote in Arizona, giving the Republican a pathway right into the U.S. Senate.
Of course, polling is not always predictive as Lake and her supporters learned in November when nearly every poll showed her rather handily defeating Hobbs.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls had Lake with a 3.5 percent advantage over her Democrat opponent.
What the polls could not have taken into account was the Election Day chaos that happened in Maricopa County — the Phoenix metro area and home to 60 percent of Arizona’s registered voters.
In the August primary, Lake’s supporters showed up strongly for her on Election Day, fueling her come-from-behind win over the GOP establishment pick Karin Taylor Robson.
They did the same in November allowing Lake to close Hobbs’ roughly 183,000 election night lead (based mostly on early voting ballots) to approximately 12,000 votes by the day after the election.
However, when all the mail-in ballots that were dropped off on Election Day at polling stations were counted, Hobbs won the race by just over 17,000 votes.
So Lake’s Election Day juggernaut was blunted enough for Hobbs to pull out the win.
Lake’s lawsuit points to the ballot printer and resulting tabulator issues in Maricopa County impacting 132 polling locations (59 percent of the total) as part of the problem.
The misprinted ballots contributed to hours-long lines forming in many polling locations.
Lake argued that since Republicans voted 3-to-1 over Democrats on Election Day, what happened was large-scale vote suppression of her supporters.
Here is the problem w/ what happened in Maricopa County on Election Day. This is Anthem, north of Phoenix at about 1:15 pm. Ruby red district of about 30K people. Only one polling location. Ballot tabulators not working in the morning. 2 hr wait to vote midday and still at 6 pm. pic.twitter.com/CY35yQWwq5
— Randy DeSoto (@RandyDeSoto) November 14, 2022
Lake’s legal team also said the total number of ballots the county reported in the election increased by nearly 25,000 from Nov. 9, the day after the contest, to Nov. 11.
That number is significant because it exceeds Hobbs’ 17,000-vote margin of victory over Lake.
Former Arizona Sec. of State Ken Bennett told The Western Journal that Maricopa County should have known the total number of ballots on Election Day or certainly by the day after.
Each voting center, he explained, should have reported the exact number of voters and the number of early ballots that were dropped off.
It would seem the ballot printer issues along with the total universe of ballots mysteriously growing after Election Day would be enough to call into question the fairness and integrity of the election, meaning another should be conducted.
However, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson didn’t see it that way and ruled in favor of Hobbs’ win late last month.
Thompson held that Lake’s lawyers did not prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that intentional misconduct occurred, nor that any misconduct and or problems that did occur impacted the overall result in the race.
.@KariLake: “They are running our elections like they do in Venezuela, like they do in North Korea, and if we don’t stand up and fix it now our children will be living in a communist country.” pic.twitter.com/5Go32Z8rJc
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) January 17, 2023
The Republican has pledged to take her fight to the state Supreme Court, if she loses at the appeals level.
Regardless, that’s where the case appears destined to go, because either party on the losing side will surely appeal.
Senator Lake? Governor Lake? Something else altogether? Time will tell.
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