After sparking outrage, Kari Lake has rescinded her endorsement of an Oklahoma antisemite

Her campaign did not explain how she came to endorse a man whose bigotry was out in the open

By: - August 22, 2022 1:21 pm

Kari Lake in August 2022. Photo by Gage Skidmore (modified) | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Kari Lake has rescinded her endorsement of an antisemitic Republican legislative candidate in Oklahoma after her support of a man who said “the Jews” are evidence that “evil exists” became a political firestorm.

Lake’s campaign spokesman Ross Trumble on Monday confirmed that the GOP gubernatorial candidate had withdrawn her endorsement of Jarrin Jackson, a far-right streamer who is running for a seat in the Oklahoma state Senate.

Trumble did not respond to follow-up questions, including how Lake endorsed a man whose bigotry had been covered in national and local media long before she publicly backed his campaign. 

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The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix, which last week demanded she rescind her endorsement of Jackson, on Tuesday said that Lake’s “tepid renunciation is wholly insufficient.”

“Lake cannot be bothered to speak, or even tweet, even the slightest denunciation of Jackson, let alone his racism, homophobia and antisemitism. For someone who wants to be the head of our state government, Lake seems remarkably afraid to show any leadership,” the group said in a statement emailed to the Arizona Mirror.

On Saturday, the Lake campaign issued a statement to Axios Phoenix saying that she would rescind her endorsement “(i)f his reported comments are true.”

“I looked at Jarrin’s resume as (a) Combat Veteran in Afghanistan. It is impossible to dig into everything someone has said in their life,” Lake told the outlet.

Jackson had a lengthy history of saying antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ things online, both in videos and on his social media pages. 

In February, after watching a right-wing documentary about enemies of Christianity, he criticized the film for not explicitly naming what is evil in the world.

“Outline & detail the evil…” Jackson wrote on Telegram, a social media platform popular among the far-right. “The Jews, Illuminati, Covid shots kill. Rothschilds. Communists. Woke pastors. Social gospel. Christ will chuck a bunch of stuff in the fire.”

Kari Lake endorsed an antisemitic Oklahoma Republican who says ‘the Jews’ are evil

Jackson has also endorsed a white nationalist and neo-Nazi conspiracy theory that is a variation on the so-called “great replacement” theory. The theory, also known as the Kalergi Plan, posits that global elites — especially Jewish people — are trying to rid the world of white people through immigration and interracial breeding. 

He claimed that people who support American immigration are trying to wipe out white Christians.

“It’s not nativism. It’s common sense. But the real issue at the core here is that — I can’t believe no one else sees this. They want to get rid of white people because of their Christianity,” he said. 

Jackson has also said that living an LGBTQ lifestyle is a “gateway to pedophilia.”

Lake’s endorsement of Jackson came only a few weeks after she publicly denounced a high-profile antisemite who was backing her campaign. Lake rejected the endorsement of Andrew Torba, who runs the far-right social media platform Gab, saying she “absolutely denounces bigotry in all its forms, especially anti-semitism.” 

In publicly backing Jackson, Lake called him a “fighter” and a “patriot” who is attacked by “the Soros media” — an antisemitc reference to wealthy businessman and philanthropist George Soros, who is Jewish — because he is “over the target.”

Jackson has also been endorsed by Arizona GOP secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem and Republican state Sen. Wendy Rogers. Finchem, Rogers and Jackson all have hired Go Right Strategies, a Florida political consulting firm owned by Rogers’ nephew, for their campaigns. 

As of mid-July, Lake had not hired Go Right Strategies; Trumble did not respond to a question about whether the Lake campaign had hired the firm in the weeks since the most recent campaign finance report was filed. 

Lake won the Aug. 2 primary election, defeating wealthy developer Karrin Taylor Robson to earn the Republican nomination for governor. She faces Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the Democratic nominee, in November.

A poll released last week that was commissioned by Fox News found Hobbs leading Lake by three percentage points.

***UPDATED: This story has been updated to include comments from the JCRC of Greater Phoenix.

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Jim Small
Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations.

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