Kari Lake’s Arizona campaign looks like nothing you’ve seen before

The story of Lake’s unconventional campaign began in March 2021, after she released a video announcing her resignation from TV news because she wasn’t “proud” to be part of a media that, she argued, had a liberal bent. After Lake’s conservative fans encouraged her to run for governor, the political neophyte called the state Republican Party to ask how. In May, Lake, along with her husband Jeff Halperin and best friend Lisa Dale, gathered in a fellow churchgoer’s backyard to record a launch video. By early June, Lake was officially in the race.

Rather, Lake has used her well-honed skills as a TV communicator to focus on generating free media coverage for herself — sometimes by holding combative press conferences where she rails against reporters. After her husband records the exchanges, the footage is distributed to Lake’s allies in the social media world, such as the prominent far-right commentator Jack Posobiec. Her team believes the viral videos have drawn more attention to the candidate than traditional TV ads would have.

Still, she has begun to win over some of the state’s big givers, many of whom backed her more establishment-aligned primary opponent. Last week, she held a fundraiser at the Biltmore Estates in Phoenix that netted $650,000, according to an organizer.

While other candidates line their campaigns with experienced advisers, Lake’s organization is filled with young aides who are new to politics. The campaign has taken on a collegiate feel: During a visit to her headquarters last Thursday, several teenage staffers typed away on laptops. A nearby wall featured a poster of Lake superimposed onto the cover of an album by the rapper Drake.

With the race heading down the final stretch, public polls show it is competitive: A CBS News/YouGov survey released Wednesday shows Lake and Hobbs tied at 49 percent, the latest in a string of surveys showing a tight race.

And, as Trump heads to Arizona this weekend to host a rally for Lake, her campaign has drawn the attention of those in the former president’s orbit. Steve Bannon, a former Trump chief strategist who has had Lake on his “War Room” podcast, called her “the most unique” candidate to come out of the pro-Trump movement, and argued that her rise reflected a shift in how campaigns are run.

Politico and AZCentral