Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake thanks Rep. Liz Cheney for her opposition to her candidacy.
The latest campaign for governor of the nation’s most-populous state will be led by a Republican who opposes the legalization of cannabis and has been endorsed by President Trump.
In a Republican primary with a big-tent field, Kari Lake will face a field of seven candidates seeking the chance to challenge Gov. Doug Ducey in the fall. The primary will be held on Tuesday.
The governor’s race is still nearly a year away, but the stakes are high for voters and for the state GOP, which is trying to win over some of the voters who supported President Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
The primary is the first test of whether the state party can deliver on the president’s promise to put more Republicans in elected office.
( Also on POLITICO: ‘I’m with Trump’ vs. ‘I’m for Ducey’)
After primary elections last fall that put the GOP control of the Legislature at risk of losing several seats, the party was looking for new ideas and new ways to reach voters.
Since then, Lake and former state Rep. Ron Gould have emerged as the preferred candidates for statewide office.
It is not the first time Lake has sought the Republican nomination for governor since she was elected as San Diego County supervisor in November 2012. She ran for the House seat being vacated by Darrell Issa in 2014 but lost, and then lost a primary two years later to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who went on to defeat Ducey in the general election.
Lake and her running mate, State Treasurer Joe Lee, have the support of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), and they are endorsed by Trump. They have also received backing from the California Republican State Central Committee, the party’s policy arm.
But the primary is an indication that Lake, a former Navy officer who served in Afghanistan, could appeal both to conservatives and to moderates.
Lake has been a prominent opponent of marijuana legalization in the state, and she said that on Tuesday she will not make a formal endorsement on her website.
But she will say in response to a question: “The state needs a leader who will fight to lower taxes