U.S. Sen. John Barrasso made his first endorsement of the 2024 election cycle Monday, saying he supports conservative firebrand Kari Lake of Arizona in her bid for Congress.
“Kari Lake will shine brightly for Arizona. She is a generational communicator who is giving voice to Arizona citizens,” said the Wyoming Republican in a statement to Politico. “Kari Lake is in this race to make Arizona and America stronger.”
Lake, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, burst onto the national political scene in 2022 during a highly combative bid for Arizona governor, catching attention for embracing many conspiracy theories about election fraud and openly criticizing other Republicans.
Despite never conceding the election, Lake lost the governor’s race by a small margin to current Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat.
As an acolyte of Trump, Lake had been considered a frontrunner to be his vice president running mate for his 2024 presidential run. Lake announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate last week, which Trump endorsed.
During her 2022 governor campaign, Lake indicated that Wyoming may be interested in paying for a southern border wall between her state and Mexico. State Sen. Larry Hicks, R-Baggs, brought a bill during the 2023 legislative session that would have done exactly that by allocating $5.25 million to Texas, Arizona and Florida to help their efforts to build a border wall and transport migrants to other places. The bill was defeated in the Senate.
Move Toward The Establishment
Barrasso’s endorsement comes as a slight departure from Lake’s prior base of support.
A ranking member of Senate leadership and a close ally to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, Barrasso is seen by many as a member of the Republican establishment that Trump has extensively criticized. Earlier this year, Trump referred to Barrasso as McConnell’s “flunky.”
Barrasso is the first sitting senator to endorse Lake’s campaign.
“I am honored by the friendship and endorsement of Senator Barrasso,” Lake said in a statement. “He is a tested and proven conservative leader who I greatly admire. I look forward to working with Senator Barrasso to get America back on track and fire Chuck Schumer.”
According to Politico, Lake traveled to Capitol Hill earlier this month and met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and senators across the ideological spectrum, including Barrasso.
Lake will face a county sheriff in her Republican primary, but has already turned her focus to her two possible general election opponents: Democratic Arizona congressman Ruben Gallego and incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who became an independent late last year. Sinema has not said whether she will run for reelection.
Barrasso hasn’t officially announced he is running for reelection in 2024, but is largely expected to do so. If he does, he has one opponent in that race so far, Reid Rasner, a Republican from Casper.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.