Kari Lake the Uniter boasts she 'drove a stake through the McCain machine'

·4 min read

We got our first taste of Kari Lake the Uniter this weekend

On Wednesday, Lake called on all gold diggers, doormats and RINOs scheming to “end America” to support her quest to become Arizona’s next governor.

By Saturday, she was back to bashing them.

“I won an epic battle in Arizona,” a jubilant Lake proclaimed at the CPAC summit in Dallas on Saturday. “We drove a stake through the heart of the McCain machine.”

Then she demonstrated a downward thrust of her imaginary stake, to the wild cheers of the ultra MAGA movement that has taken over the once-Grand Old Party.

And just to make sure that all the RINOs saw it, Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward tweeted out Lake's quote bashing the people she will need to defeat Democrat Katie Hobbs in November.

Is this what Republican unity looks like?

It was enough to perplex all those evil RINOs, people like Kathy Petsas, a moderate Republican and former chair of the party’s north central Phoenix-area legislative district.

“Is this unity or not,” Petsas asked via Twitter.

To which Kari Lake’s campaign promptly replied by rhetorically punching Petsas smack in the nose.

“Kathy, You're exactly the type of demographic that we feel no need to appeal to,” Kari Lake’s War Room tweeted. “The Republicans who willfully cheered for Joe Biden to win because they vindictively hated this party moving past them.”

Actually, Petsas told me she has never voted for a Democrat for president or governor. She co-chaired a women's group for Martha McSally's Senate campaign. She knocked on nearly 1,000 doors for Karrin Taylor Robson in the heat of July.

And she's "exactly the type of demographic that we feel no need to appeal to"?

It’s a heck of a way to run a campaign when you consider that Lake must win the support of moderate Republicans and those all-important independents who will select Arizona’s next governor.

You know, the sort of people who in 2018 sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate, for the first time in more than three decades? Then did it again in 2020?

Ducey the 'doormat' abandons his spine (again)

Lake is counting on Republican leaders from the party’s establishment wing to abandon whatever backbone they might have sprouted in the waning days of the Republican primary when they came out en masse for Karrin Taylor Robson.

Actually, that may be a pretty good calculus on Lake’s part.

While she was taking a victory lap in Texas, Ducey aka the “doormat to the Cartels” aka “do-nothing Ducey” aka “Rino Ducey” was abandoning his dignity and signing onto the campaign.

“Congratulations to Kari on a hard-fought victory and to all the candidates who will be carrying the GOP banner in November,” he tweeted on Saturday.

“We have three months to go and a lot of work to do to ensure Arizona remains a beacon of freedom and prosperity. The first part of the election is over – now conservatives and Republicans of all stripes have to work together to finish the job in November!”

5 things to watch: In Arizona governor's race between Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake

OK, so hardly a ringing endorsement of the many endearing qualities that make Kari Kari.

But Ducey certainly was singing a different tune just a few weeks ago when he took to the CNN to savage Lake as a charlatan whose past actions don’t even come close to matching her current rhetoric – one who is lying to voters when she says Arizona’s election was stolen.

“Kari Lake is misleading voters with no evidence,” Ducey told CNN. “She’s been tagged by her opponents with the nickname, Fake Lake … .”

Expect other Republican leaders to follow Ducey’s lead on the theory that any Republican, no matter how extreme, is better than any Democrat.

No doubt, the late Sen. McCain is spinning in his grave.

Attacking an entire wing of the GOP? Genius plan

We’ll see if a message that demonizes a war hero – one who was willing to break with his party and work with Democrats when he thought it was good for America – will play well with independent voters.

The ones who make up a third of the state’s electorate.

Kari Lake swept the state in last week’s election, then swept into Texas where no less than Steve Bannon led the hard-right CPAC crowd in a standing ovation for the newscaster-turned-Republican nominee. Lake is now the darling of the far right or the New Right or whatever they’re calling themselves and she’s the future of Republican Party.

But she shouldn’t get swept away by all that adoration.

As the first full week of the general election campaign gets under way, Lake has some ground to make up – much of it scorched earth given that she spent the last year excoriating anyone who doesn’t march in lockstep with Donald Trump as a filthy RINO.

Or has she forgotten that she won last week’s Republican Party primary with just under 48% of the vote?

Put another way, 52% of Republican primary voters voted for somebody else.

And that’s before independents get in the game.

Reach Roberts at laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kari Lake the Uniter really should lay off John McCain