Kari Lake, Ruben Gallego, and “a Sinema-Size Question Mark”: Inside Arizona’s Senate Skirmish

As Republican and Democratic contenders duke it out, the independent incumbent, so far, has stayed on the sidelines.

Arizona is a crucial battleground and may determine who controls the Senate—and the White House. Yet as Republican and Democratic contenders duke it out, the independent incumbent, so far, has stayed on the sidelines.

Abigail Tracy

Vanity Fair

The stakes of the Arizona Senate race couldn’t be higher for either party in 2024. Even before Senator Joe Manchin announced his retirement in deep-red West Virginia, Democrats faced a steep uphill battle to maintain control of the chamber. Against the backdrop of Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and enduring questions regarding the octogenarian’s age, Democrats across the country, from Ohio and Montana to even Michigan and Pennsylvania, are facing races that could require the national party’s attention and money.

Given the difficulty of the map, it really could come down to Arizona, and the differences between top Republican candidate Kari Lake and Democrat Ruben Gallego are stark. Lake is a former television newscaster turned MAGA ideologue, whom Arizona-based Democratic strategist Chuck Coughlin described to me as “Trump with a dress on.” So the question for her is whether she can win over enough unaffiliated voters in the state to secure a victory. “The rule is you have to win unaffiliated voters if you’re going to win a statewide election in Arizona,” Coughlin said. Arizona-based GOP strategist Barrett Marson argued similarly, “Arizona is a conservative state. It is just not a Trump state.”

Yet Lake is not shying away from Donald Trump nor downplaying her allegiance to the former president. She told Vanity Fair last week, “We have President Trump’s endorsement, the most powerful in all of politics, and more importantly than that, we have the people behind us. We have a movement of people, everyday Arizonans who are just tired of the direction our country is going.”

Gallego has a different problem: the need to build name recognition. His strategy, he told Vanity Fair, starts with going everywhere and anywhere in the state. “The one thing that separates us from everybody is that we’re the ones who are just willing to really put the real work together…. opening ourselves up to questions from the left, from the right, from the center,” he said. Some Arizonans, he added, “may not like Democrats or Republicans.… It’s all about, for them, who do they trust?”


Share this!

Additional Articles

News Categories

Get Our Twice Weekly Newsletter!

* indicates required

Rose Law Group pc values “outrageous client service.” We pride ourselves on hyper-responsiveness to our clients’ needs and an extraordinary record of success in achieving our clients’ goals. We know we get results and our list of outstanding clients speaks to the quality of our work.

March 2024