In closing days, Kari Lake and Abe Hamadeh embrace Wendy Rogers

The state senator has prominently aligned with white nationalism

By: - November 7, 2022 2:20 pm

Kari Lake (right) embraces state Sen. Wendy Rogers at a Nov. 4 campaign rally. Screenshot via @KariLake/Twitter

Top Arizona Republican candidates Kari Lake and Abraham Hamadeh, who are running for governor and attorney general, respectively, spent the final days of the campaign praising a GOP state legislator who has embraced white Christian nationalism, racist conspiracy theories and baseless election fraud claims.

“I love you so much,” Lake said as she embraced state Sen. Wendy Rogers on stage at a Nov. 4 campaign rally.


Rogers has endorsed both Lake and Hamadeh, and in recent days, has been hitting the campaign trail with both statewide candidates.

Rogers has embraced white nationalism, and earlier this year spoke at a white nationalist conference, calling the attendees “patriots” and advocating for the murder of her political enemies. 

She has also said she is “honored” to be endorsed by a prominent antisemitic Christian nationalist and regularly trafficks in antisemitic tropes. Rogers has also advocated racist theories, appeared on antisemitic news programs and aligned herself with violent anti-government extremists.

In March, Rogers was censured by the Arizona Senate for threatening her colleagues — but Republican senators balked at punishing her for celebrating white nationalism.

And while Lake has backed away from other endorsements — she denounced an endorsement from Gab founder Andrew Torba and withdrew an endorsement she made of an antisemite in Oklahoma — she has steadfastly refused to distance herself from Rogers.

At her Nov. 4 campaign event, Lake bragged about her close relationship with Rogers.

“Because she fights for Arizona, do you know how many text messages I got last session (saying), ‘You need to separate and back away from Wendy Rogers’? I said, ‘Hell, no.’ She fights for Arizona like no one I’ve ever seen,” Lake said. 

Rogers told the crowd that Lake would text her late at night to share words of encouragement. 

“She would text me and say, ‘I’m behind you, never give up, you’re over the target, let’s win this,” Rogers said.

“When they were attacking Wendy Rogers, the person who was standing up the most for Arizona, and they were trying to get me to back away from her, I said, ‘That’s not who I am.’ I don’t back away from the people,” Lake said. “If I back away from Wendy, that means I back away from you. And I will never back away from the good people of Arizona.”

Katie Hobbs, the secretary of state and Democratic nominee for governor, blasted Lake’s association with Rogers.

“Kari Lake demeans national heroes like John McCain who served our state diligently all while cozying up to extremists like Wendy Rogers,” she said in a written statement. 

“Kari Lake continues to demonstrate she will only represent the extreme factions of her party, those who spew hate and conspiracy theories,” Hobbs added. “While she and her allies continue to destroy and divide Arizona, I’m working with our broad coalition of supporters to defeat her chaos with sanity.”

Hamadeh was a speaker at the same Nov. 4 rally. On Monday, he praised Rogers as “a true friend and the definition of a patriot.” 

In June, Hamadeh said that Rogers was “an America First powerhouse” and thanked her for endorsing his bid for AG.

Kris Mayes, the Democratic nominee for AG, slammed Hamadeh for his close relationship with Rogers.

“To see Hamadeh uplift Wendy Rogers is vile, but not surprising, given my opponent’s own anti-Semitic and racist comments he’s made throughout this campaign, as well as those who he’s aligned himself with,” Mayes said in an emailed statement to the Arizona Mirror. “The current GOP is divisive, dangerous and destructive. I have faith that Arizonans will reject this hateful behavior and rhetoric tomorrow so we can begin the process of healing and work to get Arizona, and our country, back on track.”

Neither the Lake nor Hamadeh campaigns responded to multiple requests for comment about the Republican candidates’ allegiance to Rogers. 

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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. He has also served as the editor and executive director of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.