This MAGA conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer, endorsed by Trump, may be Arizona’s next governor

This MAGA conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer, endorsed by Trump, may be Arizona’s next governor

In the past, Kari Lake was a Democrat, a television reporter and a critic of former President Donald Trump. But these days, the 52-year-old Lake is a Republican — specifically, a far-right MAGA Republican and conspiracy theorist of the Marjorie Taylor Greene/Lauren Boebert/Paul Gosar variety. Lake is seeking the nomination in Arizona’s 2022 GOP gubernatorial primary, and journalist Daniel Strauss — in an article recently published by The New Republic — warns that the possibility of Lake winning the primary can’t be ruled out.

Lake, a relentless promoter of the Big Lie, has been endorsed by MAGA wingnuts who include MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn as well as Trump, who is willing to overlook the fact that she was once a critic of him. An anti-vaxxer, Lake has been quite friendly with QAnon activists.

“Lake has never held elected office before, but she’s quickly risen in notoriety during this race,” Strauss explains. “She’s appeared with QAnon activists and Nazi sympathizers. She has supported a secretary of state candidate with ties to the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. Her rivals see her not just as a problem for other candidates running for the nomination, but also, for the party’s chance to keep the governor’s mansion in general…. Lake has said that if she were elected governor, she would direct Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to open a wide-ranging criminal investigation into the 2020 election.”

One Republican who is sounding the alarm about Lake is GOP strategist Barrett Marson, who is working with one of Lake’s rivals in the primary: former Rep. Matt Salmon. The ex-congressman ran for Arizona governor in the past, narrowly losing to Democrat Janet Napolitano in 2002. Napolitano went on to serve as secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama.

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Marson believes that Salmon would be much more electable than Lake, telling The New Republic, “There’s no doubt that if Kari Lake is the nominee, then this state is in play (for Democrats)…. She’s a danger to Republicans losing the gubernatorial race for the first time in 16 years.”

Strauss notes that although other Republican gubernatorial candidates are ahead of Lake in terms of fundraising, she has been “polling ahead of her six other rivals.” Meanwhile, in the Democratic primary, the gubernatorial frontrunner appears to be Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs — who has been pushing back so aggressively against the Big Lie and Trump’s bogus election fraud claims that Lake thinks she should be criminally prosecuted.

“There’s still plenty of time before both parties select their nominees,” Strauss explains, “but it’s entirely possible that the general election could be between Hobbs, after an extended primary, and Lake, having won despite failing to unite the Republican primary behind her candidacy…. A Hobbs versus Lake matchup would almost certainly be one of the more bruising and negative statewide contests in the 2022 cycle.”

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