Journalists’ Roundtable: Lake vs. Meghan McCain, Prop-123 extension, ESA scammers and more

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It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another edition of Journalists’ Roundtable. To discuss this week’s top stories, we were joined by Mark Brodie of KJZZ Radio, Jeremy Duda of Axios Phoenix, and Jim Small of Arizona Mirror.

This week’s Journalists’ Roundtable covered:

  • Lake radio interview
  • Lake vs. Meghan McCain
  • New polls: Gallego leads
  • Prop-123 extension 
  • ESA scammers
  • Bill: Cancel votes if turnout is too low

Lake radio interview:

Mark Brodie: “She (Kari Lake) talked about a lot of things, a lot of things that made a lot of news. A couple of them including that she couldn’t identify the person or persons who are ‘rigging’ her election or stole her election. She said, ‘Somebody did it, but I don’t know who,’ essentially. And she also was trying to play off a lot of the comments that she made about senator John McCain and about, quote on quote, ‘McCain Republicans’ that she made during her gubernatorial run a couple years ago as jokes.”

Jeremy Duda: “One of the things that turned center-right voters, people who’d normally be inclined to vote Republican in the state-wide race, against her in 2022 and vote for Katie Hobbs is this talk of election rigging. She said it about Trump in 2020, and since she lost the governor’s race, she’s said this about herself. This is such a turnoff to voters; this has dominated so much of her life the past 14 months or so, these repeated lawsuits. It’s still such a feature of her. And she mentioned during the interview, ‘It’s not me talking about it; I don’t want to look backwards. You keep asking about this. Other people keep asking me about this,’ but as long as she keeps giving those answers, people are going to keep asking her about this.”

Jim Small: “I think it lays bare just how facile this whole thing is. There isn’t anything there. They’ve had plenty of opportunities to go to court and show what they say is going on. They haven’t been able to prove any of it. They haven’t been able to provide evidence of any of it. I think, as Jeremy said, when you’ve built your political identity really around this issue, and when Republican voters are so animated about this issue, and Republican primary voters in particular, I think it’s going to be hard for her to walk away from this in any meaningful fashion.”

Lake vs. Meghan McCain

Small: “I think, clearly, we saw some political performance coming out of Kari Lake. Not just the idea that this was a joke. It was a joke, but it was a joke at the expense of McCain. But then we saw her reach out and kind of extend this olive branch on social media to Meghan McCain to say, ‘Hey, look, we’re both moms. Let’s go have a beer and coffee. Let’s talk about this, and see if we can work to unify our party.’ Again, this idea to present herself as a unifier, someone that can kind of bridge these gaps. To which Meghan McCain rejected in a very crass way. I’m pretty sure they knew Meghan McCain was going to respond in a hostile way, and it probably couldn’t have worked out any better for Kari Lake, honestly, because it makes her look like the sensible one of the two.”

Brodie: “She (McCain) pointed out the fact that there was this extremely long Twitter/X post from Kari Lake, and no part of it were the words, ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘I apologize,’ none of that was in there.”

Duda: “Had (Lake) apologized, maybe that would have provoked a slightly different response. Maybe Meghan McCain would not have been won over no matter what. It doesn’t seem like in her personality to accept that apology after all the things Kari Lake has said. But that might have gone a bit further in showing a bit more sincerity in trying to reach out to that window of party.”

Mark Brodie, KJZZ Radio
Jeremy Duda, Axios Phoenix
Jim Small, Arizona Mirror

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