Democratic Party strategists are watching Arizona’s Kari Lake with growing alarm.
Why it matters: As some see it, Lake — a 2020 election denier — could easily win the state’s gubernatorial race and threaten its 2024 election processes. And with the talent she’s already displayed even as a political novice, they see her potential to soar to a vice presidential spot or a post-Trump presidential candidacy.
Zoom in: Of this year’s midterm elections slate of “ultra MAGA” candidates, Lake has perhaps the best chance of winning.
- The polls are neck-and-neck. Some Democrats are venting frustration that Katie Hobbs is not presenting a stronger challenge to Lake. Hobbs has refused to debate Lake, which some say signals fear and amounts to “political malpractice.”
What they’re saying: David Plouffe, the architect of Barack Obama’s 2008 victory, told Axios that Lake looks like a “plausible presidential candidate.”
- David Axelrod, another key former Obama adviser, offered this assessment of Lake’s 20+ years in Arizona local TV before her entrance last year into politics: “If you get a candidate who has the performance skills of a major market local TV anchor and the philosophy and thinking of Steve Bannon, that’s a potent and dangerous combination … Look at Italy.”
Former President Donald Trump’s advisers view Lake as the most politically potent of the “stop the steal” candidates. She is every bit as hardcore an election denier as Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, but infinitely more suited to the age of social media videos and quick TV hits.
- Lake is skilled at creating viral moments by dressing down reporters and eviscerating the mainstream media.
- The 53-year-old former news anchor left journalism altogether in 2021, saying she didn’t like how much media has changed since she started.