At a rally during her 2022 gubernatorial campaign, then-candidate Kari Lake said: "We don't have any McCain Republicans in here, do we? If we do, get the hell out." Watch:
Now she has discovered belatedly that McCain Republicans also get to vote and some of them voted for Gov. Katie Hobbs (D-AZ). So she is trying to get them back for her current Senate race, which may not be so easy.
Her biggest attempt at detente is with Karrin Taylor Robson, her 2022 primary opponent, whom she called a gold digger for using her husband's money to try to buy Arizona's governorship. All that did was undermine Republican unity. Now Lake is stuck with a Democratic governor, not to mention a Democratic AG, and a Democrat SoS. She met with Robson in October and tried to make up. Robson called the meeting "cordial." That just means they didn't fight like cats and dogs. So far, Robson hasn't endorsed her.
Lake understands that she needs the moderate Republicans she once kicked out of the room, lest they vote en masse for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) (who hasn't decided if she will even be a candidate). It is far from clear if moderate Republicans will forgive Lake for all the fire and brimstone she threw at them in 2022. Will they trust her? Or will they think what she said in 2022 was what she really believes and her new moderation is just a campaign gambit? If she pleads with them that, no, she has turned over a new leaf and now loves McCain Republicans, her MAGA base could revolt. She is also trying to make nice with former senator Martha McSally.
That said, Lake has not had any contact with former governor Doug Ducey or Cindy McCain. When asked about it, Lake said: "I'm focused on other things right now." They are still big players in Arizona Republican politics behind the scenes and may not appreciate the snub. When she later comes begging for their endorsements, each one may well say: "I'm focused on other things right now." Lake may be sorry later, since Ducey and McCain may well have an alternative to her in Sinema, if she runs. (V)