Aug 16, 2022 - Politics

Anti-Trump Republican Accountability PAC targets Kari Lake

Kari Lake holds her hands out in front of her while speaking to the media at a press conference

Kari Lake speaks outside her Phoenix campaign headquarters on Aug. 3. Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

An anti-Trump Republican group is targeting GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake with a $2 million TV and digital ad campaign.

What's happening: The Republican Accountability PAC will begin running digital ads against Lake on Tuesday and will launch its TV campaign on Monday.

  • The focus will be to attack Lake for promoting the false claims that the 2020 election was rigged.
  • The group bought a little over $100,000 worth of airtime for next week and will buy more up through the general election.

State of play: Gunner Ramer, the PAC's political director, tells Axios Phoenix that his organization is primarily targeting college-educated, suburban moderates.

  • President Biden is widely believed to have won Arizona by attracting those voters who abandoned Trump while largely voting Republican in other races further down the ballot.
  • The group could increase its spending against Lake beyond the initial $2 million.

What they're saying: "It is about putting Donald Trump on the ballot in a way when you have a candidate like Kari Lake who repeats Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 election constantly," Ramer tells Axios Phoenix.

  • He says Arizona is a top priority for the PAC because of Lake, whom he said is chief among "the terrible anti-democracy slate of candidates" who won in the Republican primary this year.
  • Having Lake in a position where she would be responsible for certifying the 2024 presidential election results in Arizona "​​could lead to something catastrophic for our democracy," he says.

Yes, but: The Republican Accountability PAC actually gets a lot of its funding from people who contribute heavily to Democrats.

The other side: "This is an irrelevant group of perpetual losers, and their media buys this cycle have been laughably small," Lake campaign spokesperson Ross Trumble tells Axios Phoenix.

  • Trumble says Republicans are spending heavily to help Lake, and he expressed confidence the campaign's allies will "vastly outspend the Democrats."

The big picture: The Arizona governor's race is attracting millions in outside spending.

  • The Republican Governors Association has already pre-booked $10.6 million in airtime for the general election and began running ads against Democratic nominee Katie Hobbs immediately after the primary election.
  • The Democratic Governors Association recently gave the Arizona Democratic Party $1.5 million. The party pre-booked $3.8 million in airtime for the last month before the general election.

Zoom out: The PAC is also running ads against Republican candidates in other states, including Senate hopeful Herschel Walker in Georgia and Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano.

Of note: The group's nonprofit wing, the Republican Accountability Project, is also running commercials in Arizona as part of a multi-state campaign to raise awareness of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and "amplify" the findings of the Jan. 6 congressional committee.

  • The ads feature testimonials from former Republicans, including a Cave Creek man named Tom who proclaims, "Somehow, there needs to be accountability for the people who masterminded that horrible event."

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Phoenix stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Phoenix.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more