OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake must be smiling following the results of a brand-new poll showing her with a commanding lead over other potential GOP primary challengers for a U.S. Senate seat currently held by former Democrat-turned-Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
Lake has “a commanding 26-point lead in the race for the Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP) nomination for U.S. Senate,” the Arizona Sun-Times reported on Thursday, citing a Noble Predictive Insights (NPI) poll.
The former Phoenix-area broadcaster had 40 percent support, followed by Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb with 14 percent, with a margin of error plus or minus 5.25 percent.
“Former U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters also received 10 percent of support, but he has since declared he will instead mount a campaign for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08) at the end of her term. NPI founder Mike Noble noted Masters’ decision, and stated that ‘Lake is likely to benefit the most’ from his share of the vote,” the Sun-Times noted further.
“An additional 4 percent of respondents said they would vote for businessman Brian Wright, while 33 percent said they were undecided,” the outlet added.
Meanwhile, Lake has already picked up a big endorsement.
According to Fox News, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), has come out in support of Lake, who will attempt to turn at least one of Arizona’s two Senate seats red again after both went blue over the past two election cycles. Sinema won her seat in 2018, defeating Martha McSally, and last year, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly handily fended off Trump-backed Masters 51.4 percent to 46.5 percent.
“Joe Biden’s policies have crushed Arizona. Arizonans are dealing with record inflation – up 20 percent under the Biden administration. Arizona is also on the front lines of the worst illegal immigration crisis in American history. Nearly 8 million illegal immigrants under Biden, equal to the population of Arizona,” Barrasso said in a statement, per Fox News. “The U.S. Senate needs a Senator from Arizona that understands these issues, and will fight hard to solve them.”
In a statement to the outlet, Lake said she was “honored by the friendship and endorsement.”
“[Barrasso] is a tested and proven conservative leader who I greatly admire. I look forward to working with Senator Barrasso to get America back on track and fire Chuck Schumer,” she noted further.
Fox News adds:
Lake received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump amid her campaign launch last Tuesday, but Barrasso’s endorsement marks a major milestone as she has sought to build a bridge to establishment Republicans in an effort to coalesce support for what could be one of the most contentious races in 2024.
Ahead of her endorsement, Lake spent time meeting with various senators on Capitol Hill, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and hardly mentioned election fraud in her announcement speech despite it being central to her political persona following her loss in the Arizona gubernatorial election last year.
Lake currently has only one major opponent in the race for the Republican nomination: Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb. The winner will likely face Phoenix-area Democrat Rep. Ruben Gallego, the favorite to win his party’s nomination.
Sinema has yet to announce whether she’ll run for reelection, but if she does, it’ll be a three-way race that Democrats are not anxious to see between Sinema, Democratic Rep. Reuben Gallego, and whoever wins the GOP nomination.
It presents a unique situation in a new battleground state that has been red for years but is trending blue.
“Some Arizona Democrats expect Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will support Gallego, even if behind the scenes, noting the animosity many in the party feel toward Sinema, especially after she switched to an independent last year, and her electoral prospects,” The Hill reported.
“But other members of the party believe that calculus is not as simple and say Senate Democrats will need to proceed cautiously, given she still caucuses with the party in the upper chamber, where Democrats have a narrow majority,” the outlet said.