Kari Lake wins CPAC straw poll to be GOP VP nominee — but the poll is a "terrible result" for Trump

Trump was also mocked for speaking to a "half-full" room by former GOP ally Chris Christie

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published March 6, 2023 2:48PM (EST)

Former President Donald Trump watches Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake speak at a ‘Save America’ rally on July 22, 2022 in Prescott Valley, Arizona.  (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump watches Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake speak at a ‘Save America’ rally on July 22, 2022 in Prescott Valley, Arizona. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Failed Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake won the straw poll for the 2024 vice presidential nomination at last weekend's Conservative Action Political Conference (CPAC), edging out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been slowly unfurling his campaign for the 2024 presidential election over the last year.  

Lake, who still refuses to concede her November loss to Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, also beat out former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy — all of whom have launched their own presidential bids or are rumored to be exploring their own White House runs.

After the poll was conducted, Lake's zombie campaign responded by echoing her false claim that she is the true winner of last year's Arizona gubernatorial election.

"We're flattered, but unfortunately our legal team says the Constitution won't allow for her to serve as Governor and VP at the same time," the Kari Lake War Room account tweeted.

After delivering an impassioned speech at CPAC's Ronald Reagan dinner — in which she praised Trump and his disgraced former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon — Lake took heat from a former Trump lawyer who called her presentation "lackluster."

Jenna Ellis quoted a line from Lake's speech in which she said she stands with "JFK (John F. Kennedy), Ronald Reagan, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump."

"Kari Lake's keynote speech is… Lackluster and cringe," Ellis wrote. "Barely any applause."

"Sorry not sorry people are so offended by this tweet, including Kari's own 'war room.' It's just true. Honestly I expected a much better speech from her, because her best asset is media presence," Ellis added in a subsequent tweet.

Like Lake, Trump swept the straw poll of declared and likely Republican 2024 presidential nominees, winning with 62% of the vote. But former Republican strategist Susan Del Percio, a political analyst for MSNBC, says the results are not as favorable as they seem.

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"Sixty-two percent of CPAC in a straw poll is a horrible result for Donald Trump," Del Percio said on Sunday. "I mean, this has been dubbed TPAC. This is Donald Trump's show, and he can only get 62% of his own people."

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, underscored the skimpy showing during Trump's keynote speech at CPAC, calling the room "half full" on ABC News.

"You saw the scenes at CPAC, that room was half-full," Christie said. "The reason I don't think the rallies are going on … I don't think the rallies would be nearly as big as they were before. There are lots of indicators here, that he's not what he used to be, in most respects, you're talking about and so we're going to see how that plays out."

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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Aggregate Cpac Donald Trump Jenna Ellis Kari Lake Politics Ron Desantis