Kari Lake wins GOP nomination for Arizona governor

Kari Lake defeated Karrin Taylor Robson in Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial primary, AP reports, propelling the Trump-endorsed candidate into a general election where she’s favored to become the state’s 24th governor.

Driving the news: The former Fox 10 anchor took the race by storm last year, becoming the immediate frontrunner with a style and message that closely emulated former President Trump.

  • Lake’s campaign has been characterized by his combative style, anti-establishment rhetoric and unflinching support for Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him.

Flashback: Lake declared victory on Wednesday with about 186,000 votes left to count in the primary.

The battle between Lake and Robson became a proxy war between Trump and the establishment wing of the GOP.

Between the lines: Despite spending more than $20 million on her campaign, most of it self-funding, Robson was never able to overcome Lake’s advantage.

  • The developer and former regent gained momentum late in the race with a massive, sustained TV advertising blitz.
  • Robson also waged an unrelenting attack ad campaign against Lake, hitting her for contributing to Barack Obama in 2008, questioning her conservative credentials and dubbing her “Fake Lake.”
  • Nearly every poll of the race that was ever publicly released showed Lake leading, and despite her financial advantage she was never able to overcome that lead.

The plot: Lake and Ducey will now have to bury the hatchet as they pivot to the general election.

  • Ducey is the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, which has already reserved about $10.6 million worth of airtime for the general election.
  • Lake has been harshly critical of Ducey on his response to COVID-19 and other issues.
  • Still, Ducey’s job as RGA chair is to win gubernatorial races for the GOP, and it would reflect badly on him if the Democrats won the race in his own state.

What’s next: Lake will likely face Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in the general election. Many Democrats viewed Lake as the easier opponent for Hobbs.

Yes, goal: This is still Arizona, which, despite Democratic gains during the past few elections, is still an efficiently red state, and this is still expected to be a Republican wave year.

Of note: Hobbs, who’s served as Arizona’s top election official since 2019, gained national prominence after the 2020 election fighting the same bogus election fraud allegations that Lake has spent the past year spreading.

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