Donald Trump was dealt another blow Monday night after his nominee of choice, Republican Kari Lake, lost her bid for Arizona governor, the latest in a line of high-profile candidates handpicked by the former president to run after last week short to come midterm elections.
Almost a week after the polls closed, the Associated Press predicted that Katie Hobbs, ArizonaUS Secretary of State, Lake would be beaten thinly to become the state’s first Democratic governor in 14 years.
The result comes on the eve of Trump’s expected announcement that he will officially run for president in 2024, and amid widespread infighting among Republicans in Washington and across the country over which direction the party should take after a string of disappointing midterm election results.
“Democracy is worth the wait,” Hobbs said Monday. “Thank you Arizona. I am so honored and so proud to be your next Governor.”
Lake, a former local news anchor in Phoenix, burst onto the national stage with her gubernatorial campaign as the MAGA movement’s newest star. Lake has been one of Trump’s favorite candidates this cycle, in part because of her media savvy and frequent insistence that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” and “stolen” from him.
During her campaign, Lake said she would not have certified the 2020 election as governor and advocated ending voting by mail, measures that would have done so threatened the administration of the 2024 presidential election in a clear battlefield state.
Lake is far from the only election denier to lose his race in the midterms. Results from polls across the country showed that voters in swing states overwhelmingly rejected candidates seeking state office and contested the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
The call in the Arizona governor’s race came a day before Trump is widely expected to make his bid for the 2024 White House in a “special announcement” at his Mar-a-Lago resort, which his advisers dubbed ” special announcement”.
At the same time, Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are racing ahead of the planned leadership election that will decide the political futures of Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell, revealing the enduring influence Trump has over many members of the party.
While Republicans appear to be on track to secure a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, they failed to gain control of the Senate and fell short of the expected “red wave” that strengthened the party’s legislative hand and would have given her a thorn in her side of Joe Biden’s White House.
The results have also weakened the political ambitions of McCarthy, the longest-serving House Republican who until recently was thought to be close to becoming Speaker of the House, and took the gavel from Nancy Pelosi.
But McCarthy faces pressure from right-wing members of his own party who want assurances that California lawmakers will bow to their legislative priorities. Elections among lawmakers for the Republican leadership positions in the House of Representatives are scheduled for Tuesday, but members of the Freedom Caucus want those elections to be postponed until it is clear that Republicans have retaken the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, Republican senators are scheduled to hold their own leadership elections Wednesday after failing to regain control of the upper house of Congress in the midterms. Democrats officially secured another Senate majority over the weekend after wins in Arizona and Nevada for incumbent Democrats Mark Kelly and Catherine Cortez Masto, respectively.
Whether Democrats control an evenly divided chamber or have a 51-49 majority will be decided in a Georgia runoff next month between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
McConnell, the longtime Republican leader in the Senate, has so far been unchallenged in leading his party to the upper chamber. However, several Republican senators have proposed deferring the leadership vote in the upper chamber until after the Georgia runoff, leading to speculation that McConnell was being overseen by a lawmaker like Rick Scott, the Florida senator who is leading the Republicans’ medium-term campaign effort has locked horns with McConnell in recent months.
Trump, who is trying to reclaim the political limelight even after several of his high-profile, hand-picked candidates lost in the midterm election, has urged Scott to replace McConnell, who has previously raised questions about the “quality” of Trump’s endorsements.
Posting on his Truth Social platform on Sunday, Trump said the interim results were “Mitch McConnell’s fault,” adding, “He messed up the midterms and everyone despises him.”
https://www.ft.com/content/78492903-c8db-4e1c-a268-2035f0ba3d55 Trump deals another blow as Arizona election denier Kari Lake loses