Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) endorsed Arizona Republican Kari Lake for the United States Senate on Monday, marking a major endorsement from a top-ranking member of leadership as she heads into next year’s primary.
“Kari Lake will shine brightly for Arizona. She is a generational communicator who is giving voice to Arizona citizens,” Barrasso said of the former news anchor in an emailed press release from her campaign.
What an honor to be endorsed by Republican Conference Chairman @barrassoforwyo.
Senator Barrasso is a tried and true conservative and his support means so much to me.
I look forward to working together with him in the United States Senate to get our country back on track 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/UJbMGvsMOB
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) October 16, 2023
Barrasso stated that President Joe Biden’s “policies have crushed Arizona.”
“Arizonans are dealing with record inflation – up 20 percent under the Biden administration,” he noted. “Arizona is also on the front lines of the worst illegal immigration crisis in American history. Nearly 8 million illegal immigrants under Biden, equal to the population of Arizona.”
After contending that Arizonans need someone in the Senate who “understands these issues, and will fight hard to solve them,” he gave Lake his powerful endorsement.
“Kari Lake is in this race to make Arizona and America stronger,” he said. “I’m endorsing Kari Lake for U.S. Senate.”
Lake expressed her gratitude to Barrasso – one of six top-ranking Republicans in leadership along with the likes of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD).
Barrasso’s endorsement comes as McConnell has yet to commit to “spending national-campaign cash in the state,” as the Wall Street Journal’s Eliza Collins reported late last month. Collins noted Lake was to meet with the minority leader and other Republicans in Washington earlier this month, making the timing of the endorsement notable.
Per Collins, those close to McConnell “say they would need to see Lake prove she is able to run a competitive race.”
Lake nearly won the gubernatorial election last year in the Grand Canyon State, losing to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D-AZ) by just over 17,000 votes, or .66 percentage points.
Barrasso marks the first member of Senate GOP leadership to back Lake heading into 2024, where she is set to square off with Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb in the GOP primary. Lake, who has been a surrogate for former President Donald Trump’s campaign in recent months, received the 45th president’s highly influential endorsement – especially in GOP primaries – soon after her announcement.
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) October 11, 2023
“When I’m back in the White House, I need strong fighters like Kari in the Senate,” Trump said in a video. “She is a fighter, she’s strong, and she’s good. She’s got a great heart, by the way.”
Whoever wins the GOP primary is likely to end up in a complicated three-way race. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), who defected from the Democrat Party last fall, has the infrastructure in place for a run, per Collins, though she has not yet announced a reelection bid. On the Democrat side, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) has announced his candidacy for Sinema’s seat.