Arizona Senate Race Now Tilted Toward Democrats

 April 18, 2024

Republicans have a real problem brewing in Arizona.

The polls have flipped, and Ruben Gallego is now beating Kari Lake, leading the election handicappers to change the state's rating to "leans Democrat."

Talking Points…
- Lake off to a hot start
- Gallego is now leading
- Analysis

Lake Off to Hot Early Start

Early polling in Arizona was all Kari Lake, but there was a reason for that. At the time, the race was a three-way race. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-VT) was still believed to be in the race, pulling votes from Gallego. Even so, while Lake had a lead, it was not so big that anyone really felt comfortable.

There was some serious uneasiness in the Republican Party because Lake struggled on the fundraising front. She ended the year in the red, and her campaign was still in the red until the first quarter's numbers were announced. Lake had an impressive first quarter, making her campaign flush with about $2 million cash on hand, but she was still behind her opponent. Then the bottom fell out in March, with Sinema announcing that she would not be running for re-election, stating:

"I love Arizona and I am so proud of what we've delivered.

"Because I choose civility, understanding, listening, working together to get stuff done, I will leave the Senate at the end of this year."

Gallego Now Leading

After Sinema left the race, we started to see a big swing in the polling, with Lake slowly losing the 4-point lead she held in the February Rasmussen Reports survey. In that poll, Lake was beating Gallego 37-33. Now that it was heads-up, Gallego flipped the script on Lake.

In the March 15 Emerson College-The Hill survey, Gallego took a 2-point lead, beating Lake 51-49. On March 31, RABA Research released a poll with Gallego's lead stretched to 8 points, leading 36-28. The April 10 poll by The Tyson Group also had Gallego comfortably out ahead of Lake, leading her 39-34.

With abortion once again on the ballot, Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics had now tilted this race in favor of Democrats. Lake has always had a hard-right view on abortion, but she is now taking Trump's lead in trying to win votes back that do not want to see that 1864 law upheld, which Trump had called extreme.

Trump had mentioned that he hoped the state legislature would "fix" the issues with that law, at least adding exceptions to the bill, if not changing it altogether. Lake echoed that, stating:

"I agree with President Trump: We must have exceptions for rape, incest and the life of a mother.

"As your senator, I will oppose federal funding for abortion and federal banning of abortion."


After Lake lost her gubernatorial race, I thought she would have been done in Arizona, but the MAGA contingent wanted her over Blake Masters in this race, even though Masters had run an amazing campaign with virtually no support from the party. She also had the backing of Trump in the primary, which put her over the top. But will that be enough for her to win a Senate election that could be the race that decides the balance of power in the Senate? Right now, that is not the case, and if she loses this race, it will be a big hit for the GOP and MAGA in a seat that is ripe and ready to be plucked away from Democrats.

I cannot state enough how important this upcoming election is for the GOP and the need to have candidates who can win rather than MAGA loyalists who are falling in step with Trump. If conservatives lose the House and fail to retake the Senate, winning the White House only sets them up to block any meaningful conservative legislation. But if Biden beats Trump, and Dems control Congress, they get at least two years of passing whatever they want. When you consider the damage that Biden has done in his first four years with limited control, that is a terrifying thought.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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