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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Erum Salam and agency

Far-right US Senate candidate tells crowd to ‘strap on a Glock’ before elections

Kari Lake holds a microphone.
Kari Lake ran for the governorship of Arizona in 2022 but lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs. Photograph: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

Republican US Senate candidate Kari Lake has told supporters to “strap on a Glock” ahead of the 2024 elections as she struggles to gain ground against her Democratic rival in Arizona.

In a campaign speech made to a crowd in Arizona’s Mohave county on Sunday, Lake echoed Trump-like terms in calling Washington DC a “swamp” – and used a reference to carrying guns when she told people to prepare for an “intense” election year.

Lake hopes to represent Arizona in the seat to be vacated by Democrat turned independent Kyrsten Sinema.

Lake told the crowd: “We need to send people to Washington DC that the swamp does not want there. And I can think of a couple people they don’t want there. First on that list is Donald J Trump; second is Kari Lake.

“He’s willing to sacrifice everything I am. That’s why they’re coming after us with ‘lawfare’,” Lake said, referencing the ex-president’s many legal troubles as he stands trial in New York.

“They’re going to come after us with everything. That’s why the next six months is going to be intense. And we need to strap on our … ”

Lake briefly paused before deciding on the item her supporters should strap on. After suggesting a “seatbelt”, a “helmet” and “the armor of God”, she said: “And maybe strap on a Glock on the side of us just in case.”

Before running for the Senate seat, Lake ran for governorship of Arizona in 2022 on a hard-right platform where she echoed Donald Trump’s false claims that he was not beaten in the 2020 presidential election by Joe Biden. She lost to her Democratic rival, Katie Hobbs.

She told supporters on Sunday, referring to constitutional gun rights and free speech rights: “We’re not going to be the victims of crime. We’re not going to have our second amendment taken away. We’re certainly not going to have our first amendment taken away by these tyrants.”

But despite Lake’s assertive remarks, more voters are now moving towards her Democratic opponent, Ruben Gallego, Politico reported.

Politico cited election analyst Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, which moved the likelihood of the open Senate race from “toss-up” to “leans Democratic”.

It’s not yet clear how much the issue of abortion will sway elections in the state, where last week the Arizona supreme court ruled a divisive 19th-century near-total abortion ban would soon go into effect, almost two years after the overturning of Roe v Wade’s federal abortion rights protection by the US supreme court. The revived historical law in Arizona makes no exceptions for rape or incest and only allows abortions if the mother’s life is at risk.

Lake has flip-flopped on the issue, previously supporting the law and now saying she opposes it.

Democrats in the Arizona house of representatives are seeking to repeal the pending 1864 ban on abortion, but they will need the help of some Republicans in the closely divided legislature.

Reuters contributed reporting

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