The Iowa Star has learned that an unidentified man threatened to drive his Jeep into the suburban Des Moines venue where Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake was holding a rally Saturday evening.
The “scruffy and big” man, according to Ankeny Police Department incident reports obtained by The Star, “declared that he was god, and stated he would drive his vehicle through the bar doors.”
He remains at large, according to police.
“Female who ran for Gov. In Arizona is There,” the incident reports, note.
Ankeny Police issued a “Special Watch” for the man, who took off from the District Venue, at 1350 Southwest Vintage Parkway in Ankeny, in an older model yellow Jeep Renegade. An officer spotted the vehicle later on, but “was unable to get a plate before (the) Jeep entered on to the interstate,” the reports state.
The reports do not state whether other law enforcement agencies were called in to assist in the search for the suspect.
A source with knowledge of the incident said the owner of the District Venue parked his truck outside the back door in case the man attempted to carry out his threat. The owners of the event center could not be reached for comment.
Lake addressed a packed, standing-room-only rally late Saturday afternoon stumping for former President Donald Trump, who has announced his candidacy for president,. And, some suspect, Lake was back in her home state of Iowa making her case to be Trump’s running mate in 2024.
Republican Party officials from several Iowa counties were on hand, as well as former long-time Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who also served as ambassador to China in the Trump administration.
Lake has been a lightening rod of controversy as she challenges a narrow election loss last year to Democrat and, at the time, Arizona Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs. Lake, labeled as an “election denier” by Democrats and the mainstream media, is suing to overturn the results of the election on charges of election administration malfeasance. She lost a first round of legal battles, and has taken the case to an Arizona appeals court.
She told the crowd or some 250 people in Ankeny Saturday evening that the case will eventually end up before the Arizona Supreme Court.
Lake said she’s not only hopeful, she’s confident that she will ultimately prevail in court and that she will “end up in the governor’s office.”
“I have just enough Arizona in me and just enough Iowa in me and I’m not going to let them win,” she said.
The police incident reports don’t make clear that the threats were political in nature, but sources close to the situation tell The Iowa Star they were aimed at Lake.
Initial reports of an “angry, threatening man” came in at 5:28 p.m., minutes after Lake walked into the event center.
“Male was acting strange in the parking lot asking where the event was tonight,” the police report states.
The man told a bartender, “Remember my shirt,” adding that purple was his favorite color. He entered the bar and, according to the incident report, “declared he was god,” threatening that he would drive his Jeep through the bar doors.
The man left in his vehicle as officers arrived at the scene, the incident reports state.
Police were unable to make contact at that time. They requested an “extra watch in case anything else happens,” the records note.
An Ankeny police officer told The Star that Chief Darius Potts would look into the matter further on Tuesday and decide at that time if it is “appropriate to put out a release.”
An Iowa Star reporter covering the rally did see a large man standing in the open door of the District Venue. He yelled out something unintelligible, and was promptly escorted out.
Lake has been a target of apparent political threats in the past. Her campaign headquarters reported receiving an envelope containing “suspicious white powder” last November, just days before the election. A staffer at the Phoenix base of operations opened the envelope, which was subsequently thrown out. Similar envelopes did not contain powders or harmful substances, according to authorities.
The campaign had to close down the office.
Scott Masino, Lake’s director of security, said the campaign is coordinating with the Ankeny Police Department and closely monitoring the situation.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Kari Lake” by The Kari Lake.