Kari Lake narrows gap in Arizona governor race
AP file photo/J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press Kari Lake has held onto a lead as the Arizona Democratic nomination for governor until now, but new information on her finances and endorsements could change that.
PHOENIX — Her campaign just raised more in the last quarter: $5.8 million. Her top five donors — including three who gave more than $100,000 — gave a total of $933,200.
Lake, 55, a Tucson elementary school teacher and activist, was outraised by her Republican opponent, Jan Brewer, by a $2.2 million edge over the past quarter.
Lake has run as a progressive, but Brewer has made an effort to appeal to conservative voters, and she also has a history of supporting the controversial water industry.
Lake has seen her lead erode in recent weeks as polling has tightened. Brewer appears to be benefiting because more primary voters have been choosing Democrats in recent days. The Democrat needs to win a majority of the vote next Tuesday to overcome a lead of only 40,000 votes over Republican Ron Villines.
More than 1.3 million votes have been cast in Arizona’s primary, and the candidates’ average vote margins are now closer that in any state since 1948.
“Republicans in Arizona have just started to realize they can’t win statewide if they haven’t improved their turnout numbers,” said John Weaver, an elections analyst and professor at the Arizona State University College of Public Safety.
But both candidates have shown that they can motivate voters and compete with their main opponents — at least in the primary — by trying a new strategy.
Lake’s new campaign strategy is to use money to highlight her progressive credentials by targeting her opponent and running ads targeting their donors.
The more money Lake raises, the more opportunities she has to turn out supporters for television and radio ads. She has taken a page from her presidential campaign, which she ran in 2008.
“I like the fact that the American people want to hear from me,” Lake said. “The more I can get the word out about what I’m going to do, the