Former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (R) attacked Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) as the “AOC of Arizona” on Sunday night, a week after the progressive Democrat announced he’s running for Senate in 2024.
Since losing to now-Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) in November’s election, Lake has pushed false claims about election fraud and taken her grievances to court. She is also rumored to be mulling a Senate run of her own.
Speaking to supporters at a rally Sunday night, Lake repeated unfounded claims that fraud allowed Democrats to win despite what she described as “bad candidates.”
“Have you seen the latest one they’re rolling out? The guy’s name is Ruben Gallego. He is the — we call him the AOC of Arizona. And that may actually be an insult to AOC,” Lake said in a jab at prominent progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
Lake said Gallego “could not string three or four or five words together and make a coherent sentence,” comparing him to Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman (D) in an apparent insult of the senator’s auditory processing issues as a result of a stroke.
Gallego parried back on Twitter with a dig at the failed gubernatorial candidate.
“We call Kari Lake the Kari Lake of Arizona and yes that is an insult,” Gallego wrote.
An outspoken critic of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-Ariz.), Gallego announced last week that he’ll run for her upper chamber seat.
Sinema, who stymied a number of Democratic initiatives in the last Congress’s 50-50 Senate, ditched her party just after the midterms and became an independent.
Sinema’s move puts Democrats in a tough spot if she runs in 2024, forcing them to decide whether to support the more moderate incumbent or a more progressive challenger, which may have a tougher time against a Republican in the purple state.
“I’m better for this job than Kyrsten Sinema because I haven’t forgotten where I came from,” Gallego said in a recent interview with 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.”