“Defiant Kari Lake carries election denier banner across Iowa amid divided GOP”


For two days, Kari Lake traversed this state with a clear message. She falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. She baselessly insisted that votes were rigged against her in her run for Arizona governor last year.And she warned without evidence that future races will be compromised.

“If you lose, lose with dignity. You shake the other person’s hand and walk away,” she told a crowd of approximately 200 at a reception hall on Friday, describing advice from her father on how to gracefully accept defeat. “I didn’t lose, so I’m not doing that.”

Lake, who lost in November by more than 17,000 votes to now-Gov. Katie Hobbs (D), is waging a new campaign without conceding the last one. The former television news anchor is traveling the country as one of the most vocal standard-bearers of an animated if wounded election denialism movement as she weighs a run for U.S. Senate and hears encouragement from some to set her sights on national office.

That movement has persisted in some quarters of the Republican Party despite candidates such as Lake experiencing pivotal losses in last year’s midterms after running openly on denying the results of the 2020 election. During a pair of stops Friday and Saturday in Iowa, Lake drew enthusiastic crowds here and in Ankeny. She walked onstage to Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman.” She shook hands with supporters. She signed autographs. When an audience member here shouted, “Trump VP!,” Lake giggled at the outburst and repeated it.

“Trump VP,” Lake said, speaking of the former president, who in his third run for the White House has continued to make false claims about his 2020 election defeat. “I love President Trump. I will do everything in my power to get that man elected.”

Yet not everyone who came to see Lake was keen to hear her rehash past elections, and others in the party have been sharply critical of her rhetoric, seeing her as a part of a Trump-era scourge at the ballot box that cost the GOP winnable races last fall and could doom its chances in 2024. Her trip to this early presidential nominating state underlined tensions in the party between those who want to move away from the cause and others determined to keep it alive.

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