Kari Lake’s potential entry into Arizona’s U.S. Senate race is causing concern among Republicans and political observers. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) views Lake as a difficult candidate and their financial support will depend on the viability of her campaign. Despite this, Lake is popular in conservative media circles and is a prominent supporter of former President Donald Trump, which could help her campaign.
Kari Lake’s Potential Impact on Arizona’s U.S. Senate Race
The predicted entrance of Kari Lake into Arizona’s U.S. Senate race has caused a stir among Republicans and political watchers, expecting a turbulent journey for the GOP. Reactions from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and already running GOP nominee, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, towards Lake’s potential Senate run have been varied, political insiders report.
The NRSC has long seen Lake as a challenging candidate whose financial backing from the organization will depend on the viability of her campaign moving forward. The committee’s support may rely on post-primary polling in August, as one Arizona political insider suggested. Lake’s campaign has reportedly improved its standing with the NRSC after a second round of meetings suggesting a more serious operation.
It’s yet to be seen if allies of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will invest in the race. The NRSC and McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund have indicated that other states are higher priorities than Arizona.
In the 2022 election, McConnell-aligned groups shifted funds from Arizona to Ohio late in the election season, affecting Blake Masters, the 2022 GOP Senate nominee for Arizona. In contrast, Lamb has seemingly dismissed Lake’s looming candidacy, indicating no intention to step aside for her, according to insiders familiar with Lamb’s thinking.
National Republicans remain doubtful of Lake’s candidacy as she continues to uphold election rhetoric and travels around the U.S. on behalf of former President Donald Trump. This has led some to question her commitment to an Arizona Senate campaign.
Before Lake officially enters the race, her presence has already injected uncertainty into the competition for the seat currently held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz. The race is particularly puzzling at this stage with little polling and the unusual prospect of a three-way contest, confounding the usual electoral calculations, according to political observers.
Lake announced that she is planning an “announcement rally” on Oct. 10, and she could quickly overtake Lamb’s campaign in fundraising and attention. This has sparked interest in the possibility of another run by Masters, which was reportedly squashed by Trump in a personal conversation.
Lamb, however, shows no signs of backing down. Despite this, Erin Covey, an analyst for nonpartisan Inside Elections, suggests that Lamb might not be a serious threat to Lake but could force her to spend resources in a primary, potentially weakening her ahead of a general election.
In terms of national support, Republicans don’t necessarily need to win Arizona to take back the Senate, Covey said. If Kari Lake is the Republican nominee, there are definitely Republicans in D.C. that will not be motivated to help her, as there are three more promising opportunities elsewhere.
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