By Kristen Holmes, Kyung Lah and Eric Bradner | CNN
Republican Kari Lake, who lost the 2022 race for Arizona governor and has closely aligned herself with former President Donald Trump, is expected to announce a Senate bid as early as next month, two sources familiar with the planning tell CNN.
Lake’s entrance would further scrambles a contest for the seat held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinem, which could end up as a three-way general election. Sinema switched her party affiliation from Democratic to independent in December, and progressive Rep. Ruben Gallego entered the Democratic primary in January. Sinema has not yet publicly said whether she will run for reelection.
A former Arizona television journalist, Lake has built her political image – and her 2022 campaign for governor – around her support for Trump’s false claims about extensive election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. She has become a fixture in Trump’s orbit since losing her gubernatorial bid.
She has also claimed, without proof, that she won her election last fall against Democrat Katie Hobbs, the state’s current governor. Lake has lost a series of legal battles seeking to overturn the result of that election, which she lost by more than 17,000 votes.
Politico first reported on the timing of Lake’s expected announcement.
Arizona has long been a Republican stronghold, but President Joe Biden narrowly carried the state in 2020, and Democrats have won the last three US Senate elections there. The state GOP is also reeling after losing key statewide races in November, including the key offices of governor and secretary of state.
Election deniers like Lake who have parroted Trump’s election lies have largely taken command of the GOP in Arizona, with several Trump-aligned candidates defeating more establishment contenders in recent primaries before losing general elections. Republicans, though, still control most statewide executive offices and the state Legislature.
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Sinema, who continues to caucus with Senate Democrats, has faced criticism from her onetime party colleagues over her refusal to support elements of Biden’s agenda.
Gallego, a Phoenix-area congressman and retired Marine who served in Iraq, launched his campaign with a video announcement stating: “The rich and the powerful, they don’t need more advocates. It’s the people that are still trying to decide between groceries and utilities that need a fighter for them.”
Lake will not have the GOP Senate primary to herself. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, another promoter of Trump’s election lies, entered the Republican contest in April.