PHOENIX (AP) – Former President Donald Trump backed former TV broadcaster Kari Lake in the Republican race for governor of Arizona on Tuesday.
Trump retains many followers among many Republicans, and his endorsement catapults the former news anchor to the clear leader in the overcrowded primary realm of the GOP.
Lake is a political newcomer who quit her job in March and launched his bid for the Republican nomination for Arizona governor in 2022 in June. She had been widely seen as a possible candidate and criticized a media landscape that she said needed more balance.
Trump announced his approval by email because he stay banned from Twitter and other social media sites in the wake of his actions during the Jan.6 U.S. Capitol uprising. He said Lake is strong on crime, the border and supports gun rights. He also shot Republican Governor Doug Ducey, whose tenure is limited. Using the phrase for “Republican in name only,” Trump said “she will do a much better job than RINO Gov. Doug Ducey.”
Ducey certified President Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona over Trump last year despite pressure from the then president to overturn actual election results.
âKari will make her wonderful family and the MAGA movement very proud,â Trump said in announcing his support. âKari Lake has my full and complete approval. She will be a great governor to the amazing people of Arizona! “
Arizona Democrats look to a shifting electorate that rejected Trump in 2020 and the back-to-back US Democratic Senate wins, a sign that their chances in the state are improving. Republican candidates must win Trump’s favor if they are to win a primary, but that carries a risk that moderate voters will reject them in the 2022 general election.
Lake publicly embraced Tory ideals, retweeting the record of the State Senate’s unprecedented audit of the loss of former President Donald Trump in Arizona and other border states, and tweeting about the lack of security at the borders and its opposition to mask warrants. She also constantly criticizes the media.
She thanked Trump for his endorsement via Twitter.
“It means a lot to me because I know how much you love America and how much the people of this country love you!” she wrote.
Four other prominent Republicans seeking their party’s gubernatorial nomination are State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, developer Karrin Taylor Robson, former Congressman Matt Salmon and businessman Steve Gaynor .
Salmon said in a statement that while he respected Trump, Lake “is not a Tory or even a Republican, and she is certainly not the MAGA candidate in this race.” He noted that Lake is a former Democrat.
MAGA is the abbreviation for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Three well-known Democrats are seeking nomination for their party: Marco Lopez, who was one of the youngest mayors ever elected in an American city and who quickly rose to a leadership position in President Barack Obama’s administration; Aaron Lieberman, who resigned his seat at State House this month to focus on his gubernatorial bid; and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
“The people of Arizona are tired of our government being run by conspiracy theorists – like Kari Lake – who squandered our taxpayer’s money and betrayed voters’ confidence in their efforts to discredit the 2020 election. Hobbs said in a statement after Trump approved Lake.