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Image: Kari Lake
Kari Lake, the Republican gubernatorial nominee for Arizona, speaks during an election night party in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Aug. 2.Caitlin O'Hara / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Trump-backed Kari Lake tries to run from antisemitic ties

Kari Lake, a right-wing conspiracy theorist vying to be Arizona's governor, just pulled her endorsement of an antisemitic Oklahoma state Senate candidate.


Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, a 2020 election denier backed by former President Donald Trump, is facing backlash over her ties to antisemitic hatemongers — again.

Lake, who was a frequent user of the extremist social media platform Gab until January, rejected an endorsement last month from the site’s openly antisemitic founder, Andrew Torba. Now, she's trying to distance herself from an antisemite she endorsed: Oklahoma GOP state Senate candidate Jarrin Jackson.

The progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America has effectively laid out Jackson's long record of antisemitism. Earlier this year, he posted on social media that Jewish people are a sign of "evil" and declared he's "not beholden to Jews." He's also embraced white nationalist conspiracy theories that claim Jewish people are destroying America. 

Jackson announced Lake’s endorsement last week days before the primary elections on Tuesday in Oklahoma.

But on Monday, facing backlash, Lake’s team told The Arizona Mirror that she was rescinding her endorsement. In remarks she gave to Axios last Friday, Lake denounced Jackson’s “derogatory language,” but she noticeably didn’t pull the endorsement at the time. The pressure for her to do so must have been immense, but it’s worth noting Lake is still an extremist in her own right — having openly associated with many other extremists and antisemites.

It’s also worth noting, in light of Lake’s reneged endorsement, just how many Trump-backed candidates and right-wing officials in Arizona have alleged ties to antisemites. There are many. 

The state's GOP secretary of state nominee, Mark Finchem, who once described himself as a member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, has so far refused to pull his endorsement of Jackson. Trump-backed state Sen. Wendy Rogers hasn't dropped her support for Jackson either. Both Finchem and Rogers were "honored" to have received endorsements from Torba last month.

Blake Masters, a technocrat considered a bigot by critics and who is backed by Trump in Arizona's Senate race, also received Torba's endorsement. He publicly rejected Torba's support days later. He similarly rejected an endorsement from Andrew Anglin, the creator of the neo-Nazi message board The Daily Stormer. Masters found himself in hot water last month over a blog post he wrote in 2006 that pushes an antisemitic conspiracy theory. The post ends with a “poignant quotation” from the Nazi leader. 

All of this explains why New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait accurately wrote last month that Nazis see Masters “as a vehicle to advance their agenda and bring them closer to political respectability.”

All it takes is one look at Arizona’s crop of GOP candidates and their allies to see this is part of a troubling trend.