Kari Lake, the Republican candidate who lost the race for Arizona governor but never conceded her loss, announced a run for US Senate in the western state Tuesday.
A former TV news anchor, Lake made her move into politics by making repeated false claims about elections. She aligned closely with former president Donald Trump and has been floated as a potential running mate for Trump, who once praised Lake for her ability to constantly bring up election fraud.
Lake has taken her election denials to court, so far unsuccessfully, in her attempt to claim she’s the rightful governor of Arizona. Her legal team has been hit with court sanctions in two different cases.
Lake announced her run in Scottsdale on Tuesday, a week after filing paperwork for a Senate bid.
“I am not going to retreat. I’m gonna 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 told a crowd of supporters, according to CNN.
Lake’s Senate run comes after Republicans lost major races in the swing state in 2022. The Democratic senator Mark Kelly defeated Republican businessman Blake Masters. Lake lost the governor’s race by about 17,000 votes, and Republicans lost the secretary of state and attorney general races as well. Lake failed to win over independent voters, who make up about one-third of Arizona’s electorate, and alienated mainstream Republicans.
The state’s Senate race will be one of the country’s most competitive – and most expensive. Its dynamics could be especially difficult, if sitting Senator Kyrsten Sinema, once a Democrat and now an independent, decides to run for re-election.
Republican Mark Lamb, the sheriff in Pinal county, Arizona, has already entered the Senate race. On the Democratic side, Representative Ruben Gallego is in. Sinema hasn’t announced a re-election bid yet, but her team has privately been working on a campaign strategy to chart an independent bid without party support.
Lake’s campaign trail antics – a perpetual camera following her for confrontations with politicians or reporters – have already started for her Senate run. She approached Gallego at the Phoenix airport last week, pinging him with questions and criticisms about the US-Mexico border. She told the congressman that the Senate race would be a “knock-down, drag-out”.