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Kari Lake vs. Kyrsten Sinema Is Already 2024’s Wildest Senate Race

Kari Lake can see election-stealing conspiracies for miles. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Two of the most colorful personalities in American politics will face off next year in Arizona as former Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake is set to announce a challenge to incumbent independent (and former Democrat) Kyrsten Sinema at an October 10 rally. According to The Wall Street Journal, which got the scoop on this development, Lake is jumping into the Senate race after her idol Donald Trump nudged fellow MAGA devotee and 2022 Senate candidate Blake Masters to give the contest a pass:

Blake Masters, who lost his bid to unseat Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.) last cycle, had been moving forward with a run, the Journal reported. However, he put those plans on hold after Trump called him and walked through Lake’s strengths in a GOP primary, according to people familiar with the call. The people said he still hasn’t officially ruled out getting in the race. Masters didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment. 

Assuming Masters does stay out, Lake will be the Republican front-runner, though not without a challenge from previously announced candidate Mark Lamb, the gun-toting Pinal County sheriff who is also a big Trump fan. But it will be hard for Lamb or anyone else to out-MAGA Lake, a former local news anchor with a lot of media chops to offset her incandescent extremism. She is not only an outspoken supporter of the former president’s 2020 stolen-election fables but has adamantly denied her own 2020 defeat by Democrat Katie Hobbs.

Lake’s candidacy and the likelihood of an extremist extravaganza of a Republican primary are good news for Sinema, who hasn’t officially announced a reelection bid but has been planning a run as an independent (she’s not considered viable in a Democratic primary, even though she still caucuses with Democrats in Washington). Sinema needs a lot of Republican votes to put together a plurality in the expected three-way race, and Lake is sufficiently polarizing to make that possible.

Meanwhile, despite the presumed media focus on the Lake-Sinema rivalry of eccentrics, the likely Democratic nominee, Congressman Ruben Gallego, remains the betting favorite, as early polls have confirmed. Sinema will undoubtedly question Gallego’s electability in an effort to hang on to queasy Democrats who may be unhappy with the incumbent but are horrified by the prospect of Senator Lake, and Lake has made her strategy clear by calling Gallego the “AOC of Arizona.” Add in an expected presidential rematch between Trump and Biden, who won the state by a whisper in 2020, and the Senate race could become immensely unpredictable. The debates should be must-see TV. Perhaps Sinema will show up wearing her “F*** Off” ring to display her combativeness.

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Lake vs. Sinema Is Already 2024’s Wildest Senate Race