Who is Kari Lake? Meet Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee

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Kari Lake, Republican candidate for Arizona governor, speaks at a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in Phoenix.

Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press

Former Fox 10 Phoenix news anchor Kari Lake won Arizona’s Republican primary this week to represent her party in November’s gubernatorial election.

The Associated Press called the race for Lake Thursday night following a close race with developer Karrin Taylor Robson. Lake will face off with Democratic nominee and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

“This is the new Republican Party,” Lake said in an interview in Dallas at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, on Friday.

Lake, 52, was raised the youngest of nine children in Iowa. She worked in TV news in New York and Illinois before joining Fox 10 where she worked for 22 years and co-anchored evening newscasts with anchor John Hook.

Lake was an Emmy-nominated anchor and reporter who interviewed former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, but she retired from journalism last year saying she didn’t like the direction the industry was going in.

Lake’s resignation came following controversies on social media. She shared an unverified claim of voter fraud on Twitter, posted misinformation about COVID-19, and claimed without evidence that the #RedForEd campaign to increase public school funding and teacher pay was a push to legalize marijuana.

Lake announced her campaign just months after quitting her job. She embraced Trump’s false claim the 2020 election was stolen and said she wouldn’t have certified Arizona’s results had she been governor. Lake won Trump’s endorsement.

During the campaign, Lake and Robson both questioned the other’s conservative credentials. Robson attacked Lake for her past support of Obama and mass amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally. In 2017, before Trump’s inauguration, Lake posted a “Not My President” meme of Trump on Facebook and asked her followers how they would be protesting.

Lake won every county in Arizona and called her campaign a “movement.” Her campaign was supported by the Put Arizona First PAC, a dark money group that obscured its funding. The group spent more than $2 million on Lake through 1Ten, a firm owned by state Rep. Jake Hoffman, who was permanently banned from Facebook in 2020 for running a “troll farm” that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior on social media.

Before Election Day, Lake claimed without evidence the 2022 election was already fraudulent, however since winning, she no longer claims there was fraud. At CPAC, Lake credited her win in part to having “the most aggressive border security plan in the country that we’ve ever seen.”

Hobbs, Lake’s Democratic opponent, called Lake radical and “too dangerous for Arizona” in a tweet Friday.

“This race isn’t about Democrats vs. Republicans,” Hobbs wrote. “It’s about sanity vs. chaos.”

D. Hunter Schwarz

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