OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Republican candidate for governor of Arizona, Kari Lake, is becoming a major threat for the Democrat Party.
And they are not simply concerned about her in the state of Arizona. Top Democrat strategists perceive her as a nationwide threat, Axios reported.
“That’s what’s changed a lot in our politics. There’s a performance aspect to it in both parties,” former top Obama strategist David Plouffe said.
“Obama and Trump accelerated that change in many respects, which is that you don’t have to sit around for 20 years building your case,” he said.
Another former advisor to former President Obama had similar thoughts.
“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,” David Axelrod said.
And former Hillary Clinton adviser Karen Finney said Lake is “a more polished version” of MAGA.
“I’m sure a big part of why Trump likes her is that TV experience,” she said. “In the same way he understood how to use media and avoid questions that he didn’t want to answer, she certainly has that.”
Last week Lake responded with fire and fury to a speech by outgoing GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who implored residents of The Grand Canyon State not to support the former Phoenix-area newscaster and a favorite of former President Donald Trump.
Lake directed her comments to Cheney, who was handily defeated in an August primary by another GOP candidate backed by Trump, lawyer Harriet Hageman, after the Wyoming Republican gave a speech at the Arizona State University (ASU) campus Wednesday where she said residents should support Lake’s Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
“I don’t know that I have ever voted for a Democrat, but if I lived in Arizona now, I absolutely would … for governor and for secretary of state,” said Cheney, who added that any resident who “cares about democracy” and the “survival of our republic” should not vote for anyone who refuses to honor the outcome of an election.
Cheney’s remarks led to a scathing response from Lake’s communications director, Ross Trumble. “Liz Cheney is confused. Auditions for CNN contributors are being held in Washington, not in Arizona. No one here cares what she has to say.”
Lake and Cheney have traded barbs in the recent past. During remarks at the Texas Tribune Festival last month, Cheney said she would do “whatever it takes” to ensure Lake never takes office, even pledging to promote Democrat candidates to keep “too pro-Trump” Republicans out of office.
During an interview on “Sunday Morning Futures” in late September, Lake told host Maria Bartiromo that “the people of Wyoming can’t stand” Cheney and she was sure “the people of Arizona don’t like Liz Cheney,” either.
“That might be the biggest, best gift I have ever received,” Lake said of Cheney’s comments. “The Republican Party, the new Republican Party, is the party of we, the people. It is no longer the party of warmongers.”
.@KariLake: “We just had the largest drug bust in the history of drug busts in Phoenix, Arizona this week. A million fentanyl pills. This is a poisoning of America. I don’t even call them drug overdoses. Because one pill. One half a pill can kill you.” pic.twitter.com/YX18gtca03
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) September 26, 2022
“Liz Cheney probably should change her voter registration. Turns out she really is a Democrat after all,” the GOP candidate added.
Bartiromo also appeared a bit taken back, not necessarily in a bad way, when Lake suggested she will declare an invasion to secure the state’s border with Mexico should she get elected in November.
“We just had the largest drug bust in the history of drug busts in Phoenix, Arizona this week. A million fentanyl pills. This is a poisoning of America. I don’t even call them drug overdoses. Because one pill. One half a pill can kill you,” Lake said.
The Phoenix Police Department arrested two men last week in connection with one of the largest drug busts in the state. Authorities found more than one million fentanyl pills, which they said was the single largest fentanyl seizure in the department’s history.
Lake went on to speak about the rally she had attended a few nights earlier with President Trump.
“It was awesome. It was electric. The crowd was so ecstatic to see President Trump. I think it’s truly one of the most patriotic parts of the country right there in Prescott Valley. And the crowd just ate up every word he had to say. And it really kind of reiterated what we need so much he did in this country. He talked about the border. He talked about how Joe Biden is really trying to drive this country into the ground. And that’s why it’s so important to have strong governors to make sure that we can save our individual states – it’s going to come down to that. Unfortunately, we can’t count on the federal government, nor should we,” Lake said.
“I think we’re going to win and we’re going to win big. All of the polls – we’ve had about four polls come out in the last week and we’re up anywhere between 11 and 14 points. We’ve been running No. 1 in this race since the day I threw my hat into the ring. And we have a real movement here in Arizona. The people are ready for an outsider. They’re ready for a change. And they’re ready for someone who’s finally going to represent the people of Arizona instead of the insider cronyism that’s been going on for so long. And I’ve got a 27-year relationship with the good people of this state, and they know I’m in it for the right reason because I want to get Arizona back to where we should be and we are going to see our best days ahead, Maria. We do need to start with that border. It is a mess. And frankly, our current governor, who I believe is the least popular Republican governor in the country, has done nothing to secure our border. He’s earned the nickname do-nothing Ducey, and the people are tired of it,” Lake added.