Former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake labeled Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., the state’s “AOC.”
The progressive Gallego last week announced that he plans to challenge Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., for her U.S. Senate seat next year.
Lake, speaking to supporters at a rally Sunday night, compared Gallego to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., while discussing Democrats’ “bad candidates,” The Hill reported.
“Have you seen the latest one they’re rolling out? The guy’s name is Ruben Gallego. We call him the AOC of Arizona. And that may actually be an insult to AOC,” said Lake, who reportedly is mulling a U.S. Senate run.
In comparing Gallego to Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., who suffered a stroke early last year, Lake said Gallego “could not string three or four or five words together and make a coherent sentence.”
Gallego responded by tweeting a comment aimed at Lake, who lost to now-Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, in November.
“We call Kari Lake the Kari Lake of Arizona and yes that is an insult,” Gallego wrote.
Lake took an apparently unexpected phone call from former president Donald Trump during the “Save Arizona” rally at the Orange Tree Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Lake, a former television news anchor, also repeated unproven claims that she lost to Hobbs due to voting misconduct in Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest county.
Sinema, a moderate who helped prevent Democrats from eliminating the Senate filibuster, left the party and became an independent soon after the November midterm elections. She has not announced if she will seek reelection.
Assuming Sinema runs, Democrats in “purple” Arizona might need to decide whether to support the more moderate incumbent or a more progressive challenger.
“I’m better for this job than Kyrsten Sinema because I haven’t forgotten where I came from,” Gallego told The Associated Press.
“I think she clearly has forgotten where she came from. Instead of meeting with the people that need help, she meets with the people that are already powerful.”
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