- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake told The Washington Times on Tuesday that voters’ anger at President Biden’s inability to control inflation and the southern border will help propel her to victory next week.

It’s a prediction echoed by a prominent pollster who expects big Republican wins across the board, putting the party in control of both the Senate and the House, where it could gain as many as 35 seats.

“Every state’s dealing with inflation — ‘Biden-flation,’” Ms. Lake said in a livestream “Countdown to the Midterms” discussion hosted by The Times Commentary Editor Kelly Sadler and Online Opinion Editor Cheryl Chumley. “He’s been so incompetent, he’s working to drive our country into the ground, so we’re struggling with that here in Arizona.”

Ms. Lake, a former broadcast journalist, is leading Democratic rival Katie Hobbs by 3.2 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Mr. Biden captured Arizona narrowly in 2020 over President Trump in an election that is still disputed by many on the right.

In addition to proposals for cutting taxes on groceries and rent, Ms. Lake said she plans to secure the border with Mexico to stop the massive influx of deadly fentanyl.

“Our border is a huge issue here,” she said. “A wide-open border in Arizona means that fentanyl is pouring into every single state, killing young people. The state is going to take back control of our border in Arizona and restore law and order and protect our citizens.”

Republicans will pick up as many as 35 House seats and win control of the Senate with at least 52 seats in the midterm elections, chief pollster Robert Cahaly of the Trafalgar Group said during the online event. He said his firm’s polling shows a significant Republican victory and strong turnout among Republican voters.

“Right now, you are looking at a House that goes significantly to the Republicans, probably 35 [seats],” Mr. Cahaly said. “I expect there’s going to be a big turnout of Republicans. In the Senate, I’d say at least 52, quite possibly 53 [Republican seats].”

The Senate is currently split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the tiebreaking vote that gives Democrats control of the chamber.

In another sign of Republican momentum, 10 House races in states all carried by Mr. Biden two years ago got rating changes in favor of Republicans on Tuesday by the nonpartisan election forecaster Cook Political Report.

Mr. Cahaly said polls are again undercounting the number of Republican voters who will turn out, as happened in 2016 when Mr. Trump unexpectedly won the White House. He said the reluctance of some registered Republicans to take part in polls will result in pollsters underestimating the final Republican vote totals by anywhere from 1.5 to 5 percentage points.

“There’s just a lot of people who refuse to take polls. I think every poll will underestimate Republican turnout, including ours,” he said. “These are Republicans who just will not, for whatever reason, participate [in polls]. They just feel like the government is possibly using polls to make lists of ‘MAGA Republicans’ for wider use. If people feel that way, no matter whether right or wrong, they feel that way. And so there’s really no way of measuring it.”

He said Republicans could pick up surprise wins in Senate races in New Hampshire and even in Washington state, where longtime Democratic Sen. Patty Murray is squaring off against Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley.

Mr. Cahaly also cited the governor’s race in New York, saying Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin is benefiting from supporters of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo who are abandoning Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul. He said the firm’s polling has found a significant number of Cuomo supporters “who are very upset” about the Democratic governor’s ouster last year after a sexual harassment scandal and they are now voting for Mr. Zeldin.

“There are a lot of Cuomo voters who make up the Zeldin coalition,” Mr. Cahaly said. “I don’t think Lee Zeldin minds having those people on his side.”

The latest Trafalgar poll on the race, taken from Thursday to Monday, shows Mr. Zeldin leading with 48.4% to 47.6% for Ms. Hochul. The survey found that 4% of respondents were undecided.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who joined the discussion with The Times, said he believes Republicans will win “a blowout” victory in the midterm elections.

“All the signs point to Republicans having the best night of their history in a midterm,” Mr. Huckabee said. “I truly believe it’s going to be historic.”

The conservative former governor said Democrats “don’t have a message” amid high inflation and high crime rates in many cities.

“They’ve got nothing,” Mr. Huckabee said. “Even hard-core Democrats … are thinking the Republicans couldn’t do worse than these guys. Let’s give them a shot.”

If Republicans win control of the House and Senate as he expects, Mr. Huckabee said, “Republicans have got to deliver.” 

He said conservative voters remember Republicans squandering their majority after winning the 2010 midterms in a landslide.

“If they pull that stunt again …. I think you’ll see a lot of people abandon them,” Mr. Huckabee said.

“They’ve got to have a strong stomach for holding Democrats accountable. What did the Department of Justice and the FBI actually know about the Russia hoax? Who was involved? Who lied? Who committed felonies, by falsifying information that went to a FISA court [for surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016]? How much money did Hunter Biden get from the Chinese? And by the way, how much of it went to the big guy, Joe himself? These are questions that they’re going to have to answer and get answers to. And if they don’t, then a pox on all their houses. They’ve got to stand and deliver this time.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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