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An outspoken drag queen may bring down Arizona's new queen of mean
MAGA-favorite Kari Lake is leading in polls for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. But her hypocritical attack on drag queens is blowing up in her face.
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Richard Stevens, aka, Barbra Seville, is a Phoenix-based drag queen who — as he corrected me in an interview on my SiriusXM program — reigns not only over all of Arizona, but over all of the Southwest. And, as new polling suggests, his drag persona of Barbra Seville may in fact be the antidote to knocking out a GOP Trump-hugging gubernatorial candidate.
Kari Lake is a grotesque opportunist who, after 20 years as a TV news anchor in Phoenix, is running for governor in Arizona, leading in the polls in the GOP primary. She’s a super-promoter of the Big Lie and every other MAGA conspiracy, and is endorsed by Donald Trump.
Lake was once a registered Democrat, then became an independent, then a Republican, and, now, as Trumpist extremists have taken over the GOP in Arizona, she’s a MAGA Republican. In other words, she’ll be anything she thinks will help her attain power — even if it means completely recasting herself, putting out falsehoods about her past and those in her life, while promoting hate and doing real harm to people.
But Lake decided to mess with the wrong crowd and found herself under fierce, righteous attack, exposed as a fraud and liar. Lake, taking up the MAGA talking points, decided to go on a rant against drag queens, joining up with Ron DeSantis and other odious Republicans who are claiming parents should be punished for taking their children to a drag performance.
But lo and behold, it turned out Lake not only attended fabulous Barbra Seville performances; she had befriended the drag star and even had Barbra Seville perform in front of children.
Stevens’ tweets about his relationship with Lake went viral, and he was soon doing local and national interviews, exposing the hypocrisy of the wretched MAGA candidate. Lake suddenly was being harshly questioned even on Fox News, where she had a meltdown.
Now Daily Kos Elections Digest reports on how the exposure may be affecting Lake’s candidacy, as new polling shows her lead shrinking. An OH Predictive Insights Poll gives her a 39-31 advantage over Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson. But in the poll 6% support Rep. Matt Salmon, who dropped out of the race last week. When asked how they'd vote "if Matt Salmon was not in the race," Lake's lead goes down to 40-35.
It’s still a lead, but not a comfortable one, and anything can affect it — including the wrath of a truth-telling drag queen. As Daily Kos reported, the poll actually asked respondents about the Barbra Seville incident, which quite a few had heard about:
OHPI also quizzed respondents about a story that has been dogging Lake by asking, "Recently, Republican candidate for Governor, Kari Lake, publicly stated 'Schools kicked out God and welcomed the Drag Queens.' In response, a Drag Queen said they performed at Lake's house with Lake's under-age daughter present. Are you aware of this?"
The firm found that 48% of primary voters have heard about this story, which has not yet found its way into any TV ads, while 46% have not.
As more Arizonans learn about the story — which hasn’t even been weaponized in ads yet — it could have a a greater impact. And even if it doesn’t squash Lake in the primary run, it will undoubtedly have an impact in the general election, where Lake will likely be facing Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (who has a huge lead in Democratic primary polls). Hobbs is popular locally among Democrats and independents, and has a national profile, having fought for free and fair elections in Arizona in 2020, pushing back on the Big Lie and protecting the vote.
So it could be a contest between someone who has fought for justice and truth against an opportunistic compulsive liar (and, honestly, that will be case no matter who wins the GOP primary, as all the candidates are Big Lie-promoting extremists). And the story of Barbra Seville just exposes yet another whopper of a lie.
It was brave of Richard Stevens to come forward in a climate in which Trumpworld unleashes hate and violence on those viewed as threats. Surely it was important to do because of the danger Lake and the movement in which she is immersed pose to democracy.
But in the interview on my SiriusXM show, Stevens talked about another reason why it was important, having faced brutal homophobia himself as a young person, the kind that instills fear and prevented him from pursuing his own dreams of going into politics:
The reason I continue to speak out is, I hope there’s a gay boy in Tempe, Arizona, who’s like, ‘You know what? Screw Kari Lake and that bull. I’m going to keep going.’ So, I’m not just trying to injure Kari’s campaign. I’m trying to save lives. I’m trying to make people feel empowered.
And that desire to do good in the world and fight against hate makes Richard Stevens, aka, Barbra Seville — and drag queens everyone — a role model for all children.