Former President Donald J. Trump endorsed Kari Lake for Senate in Arizona as she runs in what will be one of the nation’s most consequential Senate races.
“Kari is one of the toughest fighters in our movement,” Mr. Trump said in a video aired at Ms. Lake’s campaign rally on Tuesday evening.
The move comes weeks after Mr. Trump told a prospective Republican candidate, Blake Masters, who lost a race for the other Senate seat in the state last year, that he would lose the primary against Ms. Lake if he ran, according to people familiar with their conversation.
Ms. Lake, a Trump ally and former news anchor, embraced the former president’s lies about winning the 2020 election in her failed run for Arizona governor last year. She also refused to accept her defeat. He pointed to her as an example of how to win, in a conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Masters that was recorded by a television camera trailing Mr. Masters.
Arizona, along with West Virginia, Montana and Ohio, are seen as among the best opportunities for Republicans to pick up Senate seats next year and win back a majority.
Ms. Lake is running for the seat held by Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who dropped her Democratic affiliation last year to be an independent. Ms. Sinema hasn’t announced whether she will run for re-election, but the race already includes Representative Ruben Gallego, a Democrat.
Michael C. Bender contributed reporting.