OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Republican candidate for governor of Arizona, Kari Lake, has become a rising star in politics but there is one job she is not interested in.
She does not want to be considered for the role of Vice President on a ticket with former President Donald Trump. This weekend she spoke to Jon Karl, on the ABC show “This Week” when she was asked if she would commit to serving four years as Arizona governor.
“My question is, if you’re elected, will you commit to serving all four years as governor?” the host said.
“I’m going to serve eight years as governor of Arizona,” she said.
KARL: But I’m asking, is that a commitment that you will finish your team?
LAKE: Yeah, I’m going to serve eight years. Listen —
KARL: Even if Donald Trump comes to you and says, I want you to be my running mate, you will say no because I made a commitment for me to serve —
LAKE: I just have to laugh at this question. First of all —
KARL: Well, I mean, I’m not asking because I think you should be his running mate, it’s just that this was something written in “The National Review”. And one of our top supporters, I won’t say who, told me just a couple of days ago, she’s the running mate if Trump runs.
KARL: But my question was just a simple one, you’re committed?
LAKE: Okay. I just — I’m hearing this a lot on the campaign trail and what I think is happening, Jonathan, is the media is trying to scare the public I’m going to leave. I am devoted and dedicated to saving Arizona —
KARL: All four years.
LAKE: — to turning it around. And I like to say I’m the fake news’ worst nightmare. I’m going to be their worst nightmare in Arizona for eight years. I’m going to have two terms as governor.
KARL: If she were to step down to be Donald Trump’s running mate, under Arizona law, it’s the secretary of state would become governor. And if Republicans prevail here, that would be Mark Finchem, the guy who was at the Capitol on January 6th.
During an interview with @JonKarl, Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake would not explicitly commit to accepting the outcome of her upcoming election if she loses to her Democratic opponent. https://t.co/ikKD1M95JB pic.twitter.com/6q2EmXWCRE
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 24, 2022
Lake is becoming a major threat to 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.”