'Stakes have never been higher': Kari Lake launches U.S. Senate campaign with Trump endorsement

Following a failed gubernatorial run in 2022, Kari Lake is running for U.S. Senate in Arizona.

She launched her campaign during a rally in Scottsdale on Oct. 10, saying this election cycle will be "crazier and nastier" than the last two election cycles.

Lake, who lost to Katie Hobbs in the race to succeed Doug Ducey as Arizona Governor, is seeking the Republican nomination for the Senate seat now held by independent Kyrsten Sinema.

The Arizona race is a top target for Republicans looking to regain the Senate, where Democrats hold a 51-49 edge that includes Sinema, who left the Democratic Party in 2022 but still receives her committee assignments from Democrats.

The 2024 Senate map heavily favors the GOP, with Democratic-held seats up for grabs in three states that Trump won in 2020.

More than halfway through Lake's announcement, she played a prerecorded tape from former U.S. President Donald Trump. He says she has his full endorsement.

He couldn't be at her event because the former president said, "I'm busy on the campaign trail and fighting off all of the bad people."

Trump went on to call Lake a good and strong fighter.

‘I am not going to retreat’

Lake remarked "the stakes have never been higher," pointing to what she calls several attacks on the American people.

"Although they take your vote, and they take your money, and they take your voice, what they can't take away from you is your will to fight," Lake said. "We've been under attack. And they're testing the strength of our nation's foundation. But the roots of liberty still run strong and deep."

She encourages supporters to "just vote" – saying mail-in or in-person voting works.

"One year from today, mail-in ballots are going out. You know how I feel about those guys. But hey, listen, they're going to arrive in your mailbox. If you choose to vote that way, vote early. Fine. I'm OK with that. If you want to vote on Election Day, vote that way. Just vote. Don't sit home because you're pissed off at the system," she said.

During the 2022 election, Lake was a loud opponent of mail-in voting, saying it created room for widespread fraud. It was a claim she wasn't able to prove in court.

"I am not going to retreat. I’m going to stand on top of this hill with every single one of you. I know you’re by my side as I formally announce my candidacy for the United States Senate," she said.

She goes on about a series of topics.

"There is an absolute invasion in our country with millions of people pouring in, tons of deadly drugs pouring into this country. Now we’re seeing what that can mean. We’re seeing the horror playing out and what’s transpired in Israel over the past few days. Absolutely barbaric attacks on innocents. Hamas enabled by, frankly enabled by Biden's and Obama's outrageous deals," she said.

The Republican gained support for criticizing the election system during her run for governor and during the trials challenging the results of that 2022 race that she never conceded.

She took a softer approach to it – and a bipartisan tone – at times.

"I am never going to walk away from the fight to restore honest elections. I don’t care what the fake news says about it. I don’t care what the corrupt people say about it. Fighting for honest elections is not a Republican issue, it’s not a Democrat issue. It’s an American issue," Lake said.

Field grows in U.S. Senate race

Lake joins Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb in the Republican Senate primary. Several other Republicans have considered running but have stayed out of the race while Lake considered her plans. They include Blake Masters, Jim Lamon and Karrin Taylor Robson, all businesspeople who lost 2022 races for Senate or governor.

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, an Iraq War veteran and one of the most prominent Latino officials in Arizona, is the only major Democrat in the race.

Also Read: 2024 Elections: Arizonans already declaring candidacies for House and Senate; here's what you should know

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Watch Lake's full announcement

Reaction to Lake's announcement

Rep. Ruben Gallego

"Arizonans know exactly who Kari Lake is — and that’s why they rejected her the first time around. While she runs her same, tired playbook of undermining our democracy and pushing to ban abortion, I’m focused on addressing the very real problems that impact Arizona families, like creating good-paying jobs, securing our water future, and taking care of our veterans."

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb

"There is only one proven conservative winner that is running for the U.S. Senate, and that is me. I am a lifelong conservative who has dedicated my life to protecting Arizonans and keeping them safe when Democrat policies make that job almost impossible. I have been in Arizona fighting for the people that call this great state home. I’m not a talker, I’m a doer, and I win elections. That is what separates me from my opponents."

Arizona Democratic Party

"Lake started her Senate race by reminding Arizonans of all the reasons we rejected her before and why we will do so again. But what Lake couldn't do is defend her dangerous policies: backing an abortion ban with no exceptions, an end to Medicare and Social Security, and fringe views like putting cameras in classrooms. Her announcement showed all the reasons Republicans — and Arizonans of every political party — didn't want her to run, and all the reasons she'll lose again in 2024."

Senate Majority PAC Spokesperson Sarah Guggenheimer

"Kari Lake, welcome to the primary. We’re happy to have you here."