Kari Lake to meet with senators as she inches closer to Senate bid
Arizona Republican Kari Lake, the outspoken Donald Trump supporter eyeing a run for the Senate, is planning to meet with at least a half-dozen U.S. senators and officials from the Senate GOP’s campaign arm this week in Washington, D.C.
The Thursday visit, confirmed by a spokesperson for Lake, is the latest in a series of recent signs that the conservative firebrand is inching closer toward a Senate bid. It also will mark the second time this year that she has sat down with staff from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
If Lake throws her hat in the ring, she would run for the seat held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrat-turned-independent who has not yet said whether she is seeking reelection. Rep. Ruben Gallego has already declared he's running for the Democratic nomination.
Lake would likely galvanize Trump supporters to the point that many Republicans think she would be all but impossible to defeat in a primary. But GOP strategists are concerned that Lake would turn off swing voters in the general election, particularly after she contested her loss in the gubernatorial contest in 2022.
Last year, a number of Senate contenders tied to Trump won their primaries but were defeated in the fall. In an effort to avoid another disappointing election, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), chair of the NRSC, has actively recruited candidates he believes are electable in key battleground states, including West Virginia, Montana and Pennsylvania. But Daines has not picked a favorite as of yet in Arizona.
In a CNN interview this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to comment directly on a possible run by Lake, though he left Arizona out of his list of top four Senate battlegrounds. He said there is “high likelihood” that GOP leaders would wait until after the primary to determine whether to get involved. “I think there are some other places where with the right candidate, we might be able to compete — in Nevada, Arizona,” he said. The Arizona Senate primary won’t take place until August of 2024.
The NRSC regularly sits down with potential and declared candidates, and such a meeting does not suggest any preference on its part. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, the only Republican who has announced a run for Sinema’s seat, had a meeting with the NRSC earlier this year, as did Karrin Taylor Robson, a businessperson who is considering a campaign. Taylor Robson lost to Lake in the 2022 gubernatorial primary.
Lake’s spokesperson did not provide the names of the senators she is sitting down with this week. The NRSC declined to comment on whether Daines is meeting with Lake. When Lake previously gathered with NRSC officials in February, she did not meet with him.
Lake and her staffers have taken a number of steps recently that suggest she is either close to running for the Senate or positioning herself as Trump’s running mate, should he win the presidential nomination. Her aide, Colton Duncan, said he is “99 percent sure she's going to run for Senate.” She is releasing a book, "Unafraid: Just Getting Started.” She has also attacked Gallego as too liberal for Arizona.
A GOP strategist close to Lake said she is expected to announce a Senate campaign in the early fall, though others in her orbit said a kickoff could take place earlier.
In addition, Lake has made two stops this year in Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state where she happens to have grown up. Last week, she spoke at Conservative Political Action Conference Hungary and met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a venerated international figure in America’s MAGA movement. She is currently in the United Kingdom, where she appeared on “Piers Morgan Uncensored,” speaking to him about her lawsuit disputing her loss in the governor’s race as well as her future.
“If for some reason we don’t get a fair outcome in our election, I will run for Senate, most likely,” Lake told him.