How did Kari Lake go from local TV journalist to a gleaming right-wing flare that strategists speculate could use the Arizona governor’s seat as a launch pad for a national office?
Attaching herself to the 2020 election fraud claims, Lake found her way into former President Trump’s inner circle, and from there, the posh ex-news anchor clicked her heels on MAGA stardom at Trump rallies and donor events in March. a-Lago.
The 52-year-old election denier could very well sail to victory next month against her Democratic opponent Katie Hobbs, putting her at the head of the Arizona executive with the power to review the 2024 election processes.
Recent polls suggest Lake has a slight edge over Hobbs. Hobbs had a safe lead for most of the race – only in August did the Democrat average 7 points higher.
Kari Lake is pictured above as a sophomore at North Scott High School in Eldridge, Iowa circa 1985
But it’s not just Lake’s new celebrity that propelled her in the polls — local observers say the mild-mannered Hobbs is waging an uninspiring campaign marked by her refusal to engage in a debate with Lake.
“How do you discuss someone who refuses to accept the truth? Who doesn’t live in facts?’ Hobbs reasoned in an interview with MSNBC.
After gaining Trump’s favor and shooting himself to political stardom in a matter of months, Lake is now seen as a potential vice presidential candidate if Trump runs for office in 2024 or as a post-Trump presidential candidate.
On Sunday, Lake brushed aside speculation that she would join Trump’s ticket in 2024. “I’m going to serve as governor of Arizona for eight years,” she told ABC’s “This Week.”
Lake grew up in Iowa, the youngest daughter of nine to a high school teacher and nurse, before graduating from the University of Iowa and starting her journalism career. The news reporter hopped through several local stations across the country before settling on Fox 10 Phoenix in 1999. Her more than two decades with the network culminated in the chance to interview President Obama in 2016 and President Trump in 2020.
Lake, dressed as Elvis, poses with ex-boyfriend drag queen Barbra Seville
Lake poses with drag artist Celia Putty, wearing a t-shirt for Barbra Sevilla’s drag show
Attaching herself to claims of election fraud in 2020, Lake found her way into former President Trump’s inner circle, and from there, the posh ex-news anchor clicked her heels on MAGA stardom at Trump rallies and donor events in March. a-Lago
Lake retired from the network in March 2021 and launched her candidacy for governor three months later in June.
Questions arose about Lake’s journalistic objectivity in February 2021, when FTVLive, a television news site, published a clip of Lake at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), questioning whether she was attending as a reporter or as a member of the movement.
Lake said she left the news network and turned to politics instead because she felt the journalism industry had turned into “propaganda.”
The gubernatorial candidate is part of a remarkable coalition of Obama-Trump voters, who voted for John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 before returning to her conservative bona fides. She cites opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for her temporary astray of the GOP.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Lake led demonstrations against masks and vaccines, accusing Biden and Democrats of having a “demonic agenda.” In an op-ed for the Independent Journal Review, Lake said she would deport illegal immigrants to Arizona without seeking federal approval and complete Trump’s border wall.
In favor of the former president by her denial of the 2020 election results, Lake recently said she would move to abolish early voting and mail ballots.
Lake poses in a signature red Glenn Youngkin-style vest after an event with the governor of Virginia
Lake is pictured with Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Andy Biggs
Lake recently said she would move to abolish early voting and postal ballots
“Going back to when I first started voting in the ’80s, we had Election Day,” the candidate said. Election Day is stated in our constitution. It doesn’t say election time, election month.’
She added: “And the longer you propagate that, the more problem fraud there is.”
Earlier this month, Lake waved to reporters with a document containing 150 examples of Democrats frowning on past election results and said her staff would like to “help you become a journalist.”
“It’s okay for Democrats to question elections, but not for Republicans?” Lake questioned while speaking to reporters in front of a group of black supporters.
“It’s a pot of BS, you all know it,” she continued. “We have our freedom of speech and we’re not going to give it up to a bunch of fake news propagandists.”
Once considered a fringe Republican with a laser focus on the “rigged” 2020 election, Lake has more recently recruited political heavyweights Glenn Youngkin, the governor of Virginia, and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, brought in to punch on her behalf.
In his own race earlier this year, Youngkin was seen as a rare moderate with star power who kept Trump at just the right distance. Just a few weeks ago, Gabbard was registered as a Democrat, the party she served in Congress and led in the 2020 presidential primaries.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a limited-term president, who faced Trump’s ire for refusing to decertify the 2020 election results, was against Lake in the primary. Now the president of the Republican Governors Association is an avid supporter.
However, she lost the support of ex-boyfriend Richard Stevens, who has been working as a drag artist for 25 years under the name Barbra Seville.
Stevens called out to Lake when she tweeted over the summer, “They kicked God out of school and welcomed the Drag Queens. They took down our flag and replaced it with a rainbow.”
Stevens shared lyrics and photos in social media posts, claiming that Lake had attended numerous drag shows over the years and performed as Marilyn Monroe for Lake’s daughter when she was 9 or 10 years old.
“She took sides in the culture war, but her past actions don’t support that,” Stevens says. AZ Central in June. “Of course my feelings are hurt, but it just proves she’s hypocritical. … She threw away my friendship with her to get votes from people who would rather hate gays or drag queens.’
Stevens isn’t the only friend of Lake who feels betrayed.
In September, Lake claimed, “We drove a pole into the heart of the John McCain machine.” Jimmy McCain, John’s brother and a former friend of Lake, said he and his family were offended that Lake had turned against them.
In 2020, Lake demanded that Biden’s win be “withdrawn” and called for Sec. of State Hobbs and unspecified journalists who she said had lied about the 2020 election.
After perfecting her television character, Lake makes such provocative claims with the smooth eloquence that lesser-known MAGA candidates have yet to master.
In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Lake was asked if she would accept the results of this month’s gubernatorial election. “I’m going to win and I accept that result,” she said in a Trump-esque manner.
When asked by Mark Phillips, a reporter at the local ABC branch, how she would militarize the border, as she promised, Lake replied, “We’re declaring an invasion and we’re protecting our border. That’s what we’re going to do. You can call it whatever you want.’
Lake spent 22 years as an anchor at Fox 10 Phoenix
Lake interviewed President Obama in 2016
Lake is pictured with her husband and two children in 2017
Trump embraces Kari Lake at a campaign rally in Mesa, Arizona on October 9
After the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, a legal back-and-forth will either leave the state’s current 15-week ban in effect or revert to a near-complete 1864 ban. Lake has said she’ll pass both laws. supports.
“I’m pro-woman,” she told Phillips. “And I want to make sure that women get health care. I want to make sure women have access to contraception. And I want to make sure that women are treated with respect.”
“My stance is that I am pro-life and want to save as many babies as possible,” she added.
Lake’s campaign has said she is “pro-life but supports exceptions for rape, incest and maternal life.”
Former Obama adviser David Axelrod recently summed up Lake’s appeal to Axios: “When you get a candidate with the performance skills of a local big-market TV host and the philosophy and thinking of Steve Bannon, it’s a powerful and dangerous combination. … Look at Italy.’