Speed Reads


Kari Lake's 'war room' reportedly tried to prepare her for loss in Arizona governor race

Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake spent the day after last week's midterm elections looking through résumés and talking with allies about who to hire for her transition team to replace term-limited Gov. Doug Ducey (R), The Washington Post reported Monday, before the race was called for Lake's Democratic opponent, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

Lake's loss wasn't a total surprise inside her inner circle, as "some campaign aides and Republican operatives, looking at internal data, had grown increasingly doubtful over the last several days that Lake had a path to victory," the Post reports. "Lawyers, political operatives, and other people around the Republican nominee worked over the weekend and through Monday from a 'war room' inside a Scottsdale resort to prepare Lake for what they had come to expect would be a stinging loss to Hobbs."

The Scottsdale war room hosted some of the most prominent characters in former President Donald Trump's orbit, including Stephen Bannon, Ric Grenell, and former One America News anchor and Trump lawyer Christina Bobb. "Trump himself called in on Sunday," expressing disbelief that Arizona's GOP slate was losing, the Post reports. Inside the war room, "discussions have ranged from how Lake could acknowledge a loss to whether she should adopt Trump's playbook and claim the election was stolen from her," and it was unclear Monday night if Lake, like the other stolen-election conspiracists who lost key races this year, would concede defeat. 

Lake's first tweet after the race was called suggested no concession is immediately forthcoming. 

Among the people in Lake's war room "clear-eyed about the unfavorable numbers" were Bannon and Caroline Wren, a senior adviser to Lake, the Post reports. "Still, in a monologue Monday morning on his 'War Room' radio show, Bannon railed against Maricopa County, describing the Election Day glitches as 'an active disenfranchisement of voters in Arizona on the world stage,'" and later urging, "We have to stop the certification."

With Lake's loss, only one 2020 election denier — the Nevada lieutenant governor–elect, Stavros Anthony — won statewide office this year in the battleground states that sealed Trump's defeat.