The question was straightforward, as was the answer.
“Earlier this week, [Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters] stated that there was no evidence of vote-counting irregularities… “And that Joe Biden is the ‘legitimate president,'” CBS host Major Garrett inquired. “Are you in agreement?”
“I believe we have major issues with our election system,” was the response. “We had Democrats claiming that the 2000 election was unjust…. And now, in the year 2020, we no longer have free speech. We are unable to speak out against our own elections.”
Kari Lake, the Republican candidate responding to the questions, has emerged as one of the most vocal and effective supporters of Donald Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was rigged, and that if it hadn’t been for various alleged shenanigans – dismissed by election experts and every court asked to consider them – Joe Biden would not be in the White House.
But the 53-year-old former television news anchor has evolved into much more: after a contentious primary this summer, she is now the Republican candidate for governor of Arizona. Two years after leaving her television job, this Trump-backed Maga champion is locked in a fight with a Democratic opponent who is too close to call, according to pundits.
A month before Americans go to the polls to determine which party controls the two chambers of Congress as well as governorships across the country, an average of polls compiled by Real Clear Politics gives Lake a one-point lead over Democrat Katie Hobbs.
Lake accused CNN of tampering with the audio during her interview. However, the network responded by releasing the entire video of her interview. “Good day, Ms. Lake. Here is your complete CNN live interview. There were no audio issues, as you can see. “Thank you for joining us this morning,” CNN Public Relations responded.
Later in the week, Ms. Lake was chastised for suggesting that Martin Luther King Jr would be an “America First Republican” if he were alive today.
Arizona is classified as a purple state because it is neither hard red nor hard blue, but it is generally conservative regardless of political party affiliation.
Recent polls show the candidates locked in a close race, with one poll showing Ms. Lake leading by a few points and another showing Ms. Hobbs leading by a few points.
Doug Ducey, the outgoing governor, is a Republican who served two terms. The current senators are both Democrats, but Arizona was long John McCain’s home state. One of the senators, Mark Kelly, is up for re-election, while Biden won the state by 10,000 votes in 2020, making him the first Democrat to do so since Bill Clinton in 1996.
Since the 2020 election, the GOP-controlled legislature has passed several measures restricting access to the ballot box, including requiring proof of citizenship and limiting mail-in ballot distribution.
Arizona has one of the largest populations of Latino voters, accounting for one-third of the state’s population, and activists say their plight is frequently overlooked in the focus on Lake and her continued spread of the so-called “big lie.”
According to Kristian Ramos, a Latino political strategist and former Congressional Hispanic Caucus spokesperson, Lake’s focus on alleged 2020 events has a direct and negative impact on Latino groups in the state.
Ramos claims Lake’s other major issue is immigration and Biden’s alleged failure to secure the border. He feels few Latinos will vote for her, when her message is to keep migrants out of the country and prevent Latinos voting.
It might not be quite that simple. Midterm elections typically punish the party in power, and with the economy struggling and Biden’s approval rating low, Republicans are hoping to pick up enough seats to flip both the House and the Senate.
There’s even more. In 2020, Trump surprised many by gaining the support of up to 38% of Latino voters, compared to 59 for Biden and the Democrats.
According to Israel Ortega, a spokesperson for the conservative Latino group The Libre Initiative, more Latinos are leaning toward Republicans.
Candidates are doubling down on their positions, from Beto O’Rourke and Greg Abbott in Texas to Ron DeSantis in Florida, JB Pritzker in Illinois, and Tudor Dixon in Michigan.