Republican Kari Lake kicked off her campaign for the Senate on Tuesday night with a boisterous rally in Scottsdale, Arizona, rattling off conservative talking points and playing an endorsement video from former President Donald Trump.
“This mama bear has a whole lot of fight left in her,” Lake told more than 200 supporters. “I am not going to retreat. I’m going to stand on top of this hill with every single one of you, and I know you’re by my side as I formally announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.”
Lake, a former TV anchor, lost the Arizona governor’s race last year; she has refused to concede the race and continues to litigate her allegations of fraud. In her announcement speech, she suggested divine intervention kept her out of the governor’s mansion.
“After we did everything right, and we saw the disaster of Election Day, sometimes when things don’t go the way we expect, we find ourselves questioning and asking why,” she said. “I said, ‘Why God?’ I think God has bigger plans for us.”
In her address, Lake spoke of a southern border overrun by armed cartels and suggested that the U.S. could face a terrorist attack like Hamas’ assault on Israel over the weekend.
“Are you guys seeing that the same thing could happen here? Thousands of fighting-age men have poured across the southern border with no vetting. We know they have terrorists coming across the border,” she said. “The cartels own Arizona, and, until we kick Joe Biden to the curb, Ruben Gallego and Kyrsten Sinema, we’re not going to have a state.”
Trump recently made a similar suggestion about a domestic terrorist attack because of activity at the southern border, although he specifically pointed to the “same people that raided Israel” as the ones “pouring into our once beautiful USA.” A senior U.S. official familiar with the topic said that claim was false.
While the exact number of people crossing the U.S. southern border who may have ties to Hamas is classified, the official said, the idea that Hamas is “pouring” across the border is false.
A very small fraction of people stopped at the southern border are on the terrorist watchlist. In fact, the recent surge in crossings has been driven in part by thousands of families’ fleeing violence and poverty and presenting themselves to border authorities in pursuit of asylum.
Lake is seeking the seat held by Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat-turned-independent who hasn’t said yet whether she will run for re-election. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., is running as a Democrat.
In her address, Lake focused on domestic issues, speaking about fentanyl, gas prices and inflation repeatedly, blaming President Joe Biden for all three. As for her policy agenda, Lake mostly promised to support Trump’s agenda.
“The only way to fix our problems is with America first policies. President Trump showed us how to do it,” she said. “Four years ago, we had $2 gallon gas, the border was secure, inflation was nonexistent, the economy worked for every American.”
Toward the end of her address, Lake played a video from Trump.
“When I’m back in the White House, I need strong fighters like Kari in the Senate. She is a fighter. She’s strong, and she’s good,” Trump said. “Republicans must win, and we must win very, very big. It’s much harder for them to cheat if we do it like we should.”
He continued: “Kari is one of the toughest fighters in our movement, and I am proud to give her my complete and total endorsement for the United States Senate.”
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com