Former President Donald Trump’s search for a running mate has narrowed to four people, insiders say — and the clear front-runner just surprised everyone by declining to even be considered.
Arizona’s Kari Lake, a rising Republican populist star, was a keynote speaker at the 2023 Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC] last week.
Lake made such an impression with the MAGA crowd in attendance that she won the subsequent straw poll as Trump’s running mate out of 30 options.
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Thanks, but no thanks, Lake’s office announced.
She’ll be too busy running Arizona to be vice president.
“We’re flattered, but unfortunately our legal team says the Constitution won’t allow for her to serve as Governor and VP at the same time,” Lake’s office tweeted.
BREAKING: Out of 30 contenders, @KariLake wins @CPAC straw poll for Vice President.
We’re flattered, but unfortunately our legal team says the Constitution won’t allow for her to serve as Governor and VP at the same time. pic.twitter.com/gFV3z3wtxB
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) March 4, 2023
Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs, Lake’s opponent in the 2020 election, is currently the top executive in Arizona. Lake has refused to concede the race and is currently in a legal fight to have the result overturned.
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In the months since the election, Lake has appeared at Trump’s Florida estate and a palatial California hotel, where she unsuccessfully lobbied members of the Republican National Committee to defeat Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. A more recent swing through Iowa sparked speculation about whether she may run for president or angle for a role as Trump’s running mate if he clinches the GOP nomination again.
“She speaks MAGA,” Chuck Coughlin, a longtime political consultant in Arizona who was one of former Gov. Jan Brewer’s top advisers, said, referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. “She’s better than Trump in many respects. She’s a cultural warrior. She expresses their angst and anxiety over the way the country’s going.”
Trump’s campaign said the 45th president hasn’t yet made up his mind on choosing his running mate.
“President Trump will choose his running mate on his own time, and those who are playing the media game are doing so at their own peril,” campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told Axios.
Meanwhile, Lake is continuing to fight her loss in the Arizona appellate courts, which rejected her election challenge Thursday. She vowed to take her lawsuit to the state Supreme Court. She held a campaign-style rally this month to draw attention to her case.
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“Kari Lake is the total package. She’s articulate. She’s confident. She’s beautiful, but not in a threatening way,” said Linda Greulich, a 70-year-old retiree in Phoenix.
“And I think if she wants to stay in politics, I see her going all the way to the top.”
Just not to the vice presidential home in Washington, D.C.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article