It's not looking good for Kari Lake. I picture John McCain laughing his head off

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Note: Column is updated to include Sunday's vote release.


The window hasn’t slammed shut on Kari Lake, but it’s darned close.

It’s pray-for-a-miracle time for the candidate who slashed and burned her way through the 17-month campaign en route to this moment.

Because barring that, this race is over.

Lake didn’t need – or apparently want – moderate Republican voters or independents as she marched ever onward, onward, onward with her America First “movement.”

And she isn’t getting them.

Lake never courted the moderate vote

Kari Lake enters the polling center at the Downtown Phoenix Post Office to cast her ballot with her children on Nov. 8, 2022.
Kari Lake enters the polling center at the Downtown Phoenix Post Office to cast her ballot with her children on Nov. 8, 2022.

Consider this, from Saturday’s release of votes in Maricopa County:

Rachel Mitchell, the Republican candidate for Maricopa County attorney, gained 9,059 votes over her Democratic opponent. Lake gained only 3,001 over Hobbs.

As red waves go, it was more like pinkish trickle – one that should set off alarms in “Karizona,” given that most of the ballots released on Saturday and Sunday came from Election Day early vote drop-offs in Republican strongholds in north Phoenix and the East Valley.

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Lake fared better in the Sunday evening vote drop, as more heavily Republican areas reported in. But with just 160,000 of the more than 2.6 million ballots left to count, the window is sliding south for the pride of the ultra-MAGA movement.

Before Sunday’s drop, Lake needed 56.5% of the remaining vote to catch up to Katie Hobbs, according to Paul Bentz, pollster for HighGround.

On Sunday evening, she got 54.6%

Now she needs 57.6% of the remaining 170,000 votes to catch Hobbs.

No wonder Hobbs remains in the lead

On Tuesday, as she has throughout the race, Lake predicted she’d win in a landslide. In the days to follow, as she trailed in the vote, she made the rounds of conservative media to sow doubt about the results, even as she continued to assure her voters that her victory is “inevitable.”

“America & Arizona: We have the brightest & best attorneys in the Nation, right here on the ground in Arizona,” she tweeted on Friday. “Every ballot has eyes on it. GOP Ballots (Election Day) ballots start dropping tonight. Keep your Champagne cold, our votes are about to start.”

Since then Hobbs has slightly widened her lead.

And Lake has gone largely silent on social media.

It’s worth mentioning that Republican Treasurer Kimberly Yee has more than 113,000 more votes than the Republican nominee for governor – votes that would have allowed her to sleep well all week. As of Sunday evening, Hobbs leads by 26,011.

But for Lake, the window is closing.

Lake could use the 'party of McCain' now

Me? I’m wondering whether she’s thinking at all right now of the late John McCain, a man she once called an “icon” and more recently “a loser.”

A few days after her primary election win, she stood at at a CPAC summit in Dallas to celebrate her victory.

We drove a stake through the heart of the McCain machine,” she proclaimed, to wild cheers of the ultra-MAGA crowd.

On the Friday before the general election, she sneered at “he party of McCain” during a campaign event, adding, “Boy, Arizona has delivered some losers, haven’t they?”

“We don’t have any McCain Republicans in here, do we?” she asked.

“Well, get the hell out!” Lake told them.

Thus far, it appears they’ve done just that.

I picture John McCain, somewhere in the heavens, laughing his head off.

Reach Roberts at Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kari Lake's window is closing. Do I hear John McCain laughing?