Former journalist Kari Lake proved to be the most successful candidate in Tuesday's Republican primary for governor of Arizona, following her departure from her career in the news business and her embrace of former President Donald Trump.
As a way to move beyond Trump, the GOP establishment supported lawyer and businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson. Lake made false election fraud claims during her campaign and said she would not have certified President Joe Biden's 2020 win, the Associated Press reports.
"Arizonans who have been forgotten by the establishment just delivered a political earthquake," Lake said in a statement, the news wire reports.
The close race between her and Robson was not called until Thursday. The AP notes that Republicans will now head into November's election with a number of nominees loyal to Trump and who falsely claim Biden wasn't legitimately elected.
Lake has been called a hypocrite by critics who say she's changed positions on several topics out of political expediency.
For example, Lake recently attacked drag queens as "groomers" and dangerous for children while having been longtime friends with a drag queen, Barbara Seville, who has performed drag for more than 25 years and has even performed at Lake's home with her children present.
Additionally, Lake has taken a page from the Trump playbook and has made no secrets about her sudden disdain for the media. The decades-long television anchor quit her journalism job and fully embraced the MAGA philosophy that she rode to victory this week.
Early election results had Robson in the lead, but as officials added polling place voters, the margin narrowed. Then, as a result of thousands of mail ballots dropped off at the polls Tuesday, Lake emerged the winner.
"The voters of Arizona have spoken," Robson said in a statement, conceding the election. "I accept the results, I trust the process and the people who administer it."
In his campaign to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Trump's endorsement of Arizona candidates proved critical after a mixed primary season. With a win in November, Trump's allies will control election oversight in a crucial battleground state that may determine his presidential bid in 2024 if he runs again.
Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs will be Lake's opponent in November.
"This race for governor isn't about Democrats or Republicans. It's a choice between sanity and chaos," Hobbs said Thursday night in a statement on Lake's victory, the AP reports.