'Polarizing' Kari Lake could be a major headache for GOP strategists in 2024: conservative

'Polarizing' Kari Lake could be a major headache for GOP strategists in 2024: conservative

Like her political mentor Donald Trump, far-right Republican Kari Lake has been an incredibly divisive figure in U.S. politics.

The conspiracy theorist and former television reporter, who Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs defeated in 2022, is popular with Trump's hardcore MAGA base. But a combination of liberals, progressives, Democrats and Never Trump conservatives view her as a dangerous extremist. When Lake lost Arizona's gubernatorial race last year, former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) and activist Meghan McCain were among the well-known conservatives who were glad to see her defeated.

Never Trumper and Washington Post opinion writer Henry Olsen, in his May 31 column, lays out some reasons why Lake could be a major headache for GOP strategists in 2024.

READ MORE: 'Can’t beat Donald Duck': Election loser Kari Lake swats at Ron DeSantis

"Many Republicans are concerned that the charismatic — and polarizing — Kari Lake will run for Arizona's Senate seat, thereby making it harder for the GOP to pick up a seat that could determine Senate control," Olsen observes. "Even more concerning for the party? That she might also be angling to become former President Donald Trump's vice-presidential nominee."

Olsen continues, "Lake has made her interest in running for the Senate clear by doing what any normal candidate would do: She regularly criticizes independent incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and her Democratic challenger, Rep. Ruben Gallego, on Twitter and in news releases…. Speculation that she's also interested in the vice presidency comes from the things she's done that most Senate candidates do not: She's maintained a heavy national speaking schedule, including two trips to Iowa and a lead speaking role at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference."

Lake is reportedly on Trump's short list for a running mate if he wins the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, which is looking like a strong possibility. Despite all his legal woes — or perhaps even because of them — Trump has been way ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in many polls. Lake has been calling for the GOP to cancel its presidential primary and rally around Trump, and she urged DeSantis not to run —which obviously didn't stop him from entering the race in late May.

Olsen argues that if Lake is serious about running for the U.S. Senate, she needs to forget about being Trump's possible running mate.

READ MORE: Arizona Supreme Court slams Kari Lake lawyers with $2000 sanction for election lies

"The complications — both for her and the GOP — come from what happens if she runs for the Senate without rejecting the possibility that she might accept a chance to run for vice president," Olsen explains. "Winning a competitive U.S. Senate seat requires complete dedication…. Given the opportunity to run for both Senate and vice president, Republicans and her fans should hope she chooses just one — for her benefit and theirs."

READ MORE: Kari Lake among four women on Trump's VP shortlist: report

Find Henry Olsen's full Washington Post opinion column at this link (subscription required).

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