Kari Lake is the next major MAGA star

By Joseph Farah

Perhaps the next big Republican superstar is Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor in Arizona.

Democrats are watching her with fear and loathing – and great dread, admitting some degree of inevitability in her candidacy.

She’s a former television newscaster and veteran communicator.

At 53-years-old, she’s attractive and currently leading her opponent, Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who refuses to debate her. She’s obviously afraid of Lake. It’s no wonder. Anybody would see her as a dream candidate. And Hobbs is very weak. The polls now are trending in Lake’s favor.

Kari Lake is fearless, and Democrats admit as much.

David Plouffe, the architect of Barack Obama’s 2008 victory, admits that Lake looks like a “plausible presidential candidate.” David Axelrod, another key former Obama adviser, offered this assessment of Lake’s more than 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.” Indeed.

Lake is not afraid to suggest President Donald Trump was the victim of a “stolen” campaign and defend it calmly.

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She’s skilled at creating viral moments by dressing down reporters and eviscerating the mainstream media. Lake left journalism altogether in 2021, saying she didn’t like how much media had changed since she started in the business.

Doug Ducey, Arizona’s outgoing GOP governor and chair of the Republican Governors Association, opposed Lake in her primary. But now, he’s backing her with great energy. She’s having good success in courting GOP donors and has what it takes to fight hard and win.

If Lake wins the governorship, Democrats anticipate that her future endorsements will be sought after, that she will be giving fiery speeches around the country and that she will have a standing invitation on all the top cable shows.

She’s a master of strong language to make her points, and her experience with decades of daily TV make her a perfect match for aspects of this political moment.

“That’s what’s changed a lot in our politics. There’s a performance aspect to it in both parties,” 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. “If you’ve got something compelling to say and you can organize a campaign online, you’re a plausible presidential candidate.”

Even former senior Hillary Clinton adviser Karen Finney said Lake represents “a more polished version” of MAGA.

“I’m sure a big part of why Trump likes her is that TV experience,” Finney 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.”

Rather than avoid questions, Lake has been stellar in dressing down so-called journalists, as she does in this video regarding election integrity:

Lake is already seen as an attractive running mate for Trump on 2024, though she has pledged to finish the job in Arizona.

According to latest polls, Lake is now leading the governor’s race by about 4 points, with the Republican polling at 49.3% and Hobbs at 45.6%. Lake has a strong lead among voters between the ages of 18 and 39, leading Hobbs by 11 points among that age group. Lake also leads her opponent among independent voters, with just 4% of voters still undecided per the poll. Last month’s poll data showed that the governor’s race was neck-and-neck, with Hobbs leading with 43% at the time.

A recent New York Times story was headlined: “Democrats Worry Katie Hobbs Is Stumbling in Arizona’s Governor Race.” No kidding. NBC News reported: “Some of Katie Hobbs’ supporters are concerned MAGA firebrand Kari Lake is outshining her low-key campaign.” And CNN added this: “Election denier Kari Lake has a real shot of winning a swing state governorship.”

Tudor Dixon, the candidate who seeks to replace Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, has also showed some the same panache as Lake. She, too, is coming on strong in the final weeks of the campaign. And her media experience is paying off as well.

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