Kari Lake

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Kari Lake

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Kari Lake
BornKari Ann Lake
August 23, 1969 (age 53)
Illinois, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Iowa (BA)
Political partyRepublican (before 2006, 2012–present)
Other political
Independent (2006–2008)
Democratic (2008–2012)
SpousesTracy Finnegan​​(m. 1991, divorced)​Jeff Halperin ​(m. 1998)​
WebsiteCampaign website

Kari Ann Lake[1] (born August 23, 1969) is an American politician and former television news anchor. After working at Phoenix television station KSAZ-TV for 22 years, she stepped down from her anchor role in March 2021.[2] She announced her campaign for governor of Arizona on June 1, 2021,[3] and is the Republican nominee in the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial election.[4]


Early life and education

Lake was born in Illinois to Larry A. Lake, a teacher and football and basketball coach from Richland Center, Wisconsin, and Sheila A. Lake (née McGuire), a nurse from Appleton, Wisconsin.[5][6][7]

Lake grew up in Iowa.[8] She graduated from North Scott Senior High School in Eldridge, Iowa,[9][10] and then received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and journalism from the University of Iowa.[8]

Media career

In May 1991, Lake began working at KWQC-TV in Davenport, Iowa, as an intern while attending the University of Iowa.[11] She later became production assistant before joining WHBF-TV in Rock Island, Illinois, to be a daily reporter and weekend weathercaster in 1992.[11] In August 1994, Lake was hired by KPNX in Phoenix, Arizona, to be the weekend weather anchor.[12] She later became evening anchor at KPNX before relocating to work for WNYT in Albany, New York, in the summer of 1998, when she replaced Chris Kapostasy.[13][14][15]

Lake returned to Arizona in 1999 and became an evening anchor for KSAZ-TV (Fox 10 Phoenix).[16][17] While at KSAZ, Lake interviewed President Barack Obama in 2016 and President Donald Trump in 2020.[18][19]

Over the course of a few years, Lake became a leading pro-Trump politician in Arizona after leaving her job as a local TV anchor.[10][3] In her last years working in the media, she shared false and unverified information on social media, prompting criticism[3] and acquiring a reputation as a provocateur.[10] In 2018, she opposed the Red for Ed movement, which sought more funding for education through strikes and protests, claiming that movement was a “big push to legalize pot“; she later apologized for the statement (saying that she “made an incorrect conclusion”)[3][20] and, according to the station’s regional human resources director, subsequently took an unexpected month-long leave from her position at the station.[10] In July 2019, Lake was caught on “hot mic” footage promoting her account on the web platform Parler.[10] She shared COVID-19 misinformation on Twitter and Facebook in April 2020.[10] Lake’s statements and actions made her a divisive figure among colleagues in her last years at the station.[10]

In March 2021, she announced her departure from KSAZ, one day after FTVLive, a television news industry site, published a video clip of Lake at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando; the website questioned whether Lake was there as a journalist or as a member of a movement.[3] In June 2021, she announced her campaign for governor.[3]

Political career

Party switches

Lake at a campaign event on October 2, 2021, with a thin blue line flag

Lake was a member of the Republican Party until November 3, 2006,[21] when she changed her registration to become an independent. She registered as a Democrat on January 4, 2008, the day after the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses were won by Obama.[21] Lake returned to being a Republican on January 31, 2012. She explained her leaving the Republican Party in 2006 as a reaction to the then-ongoing Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She had supported John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008.[21] She also made several donations to Democratic presidential candidates.[21][22] After launching her campaign for governor in 2021, Lake cited Trump, Ronald Reagan, and Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward, all former Democrats, as precedent for her party-switching.[23]

2022 gubernatorial run

Main article: 2022 Arizona gubernatorial election

GOP Primary Results



Lake at a campaign event in Scottsdale, Arizona, July 5, 2021

Republican primary

Lake filed paperwork in June 2021, to seek the Republican nomination for governor of Arizona in the 2022 election.[24] Four candidates sought the Republican nomination: Lake; former real estate developer and Arizona Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson; Paola Tulliani Zen, and Scott Neely.[25] Lake and Robson were the front-runners, leading in polling and fundraising.[25] A fifth Republican candidate, ex-congressman Matt Salmon, dropped out of the race after trailing in polls and endorsed Robson.[25]

Lake received Donald Trump‘s endorsement in September 2021.[26] The primary was seen as a “battle” between Republicans aligned with Trump and establishment Republicans. Robson was supported by figures such as former Vice President Mike Pence, incumbent Arizona governor Doug Ducey, and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie.[27] By the end of 2021, Lake had raised $1.4 million from 12,000 sources.[28][29] Lake centered her campaign on promoting the false claim that the 2020 presidential election in Arizona and nationwide was “rigged and stolen”; Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump White House aide who promoted Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results, attributed her victory in the Republican primary, despite being “outspent 10-to-1,” on her stance.[26] Lake won the Republican primary in Arizona on August 2, 2022, winning in all counties.[30]


In August 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lake led anti-mask rallies,[31] calling on Arizona State University students to go against the university’s mask mandates.[31] Lake said that as governor she would not tolerate mask and vaccine mandates of the COVID-19 pandemic.[32] In November 2021, Lake told a group of Republican retirees that she was taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19 infection. She stated that, as governor, she would work to have hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin produced in the state to “make it easier for us to get these lifesaving drugs.”[33] Lake questioned the science behind COVID-19 vaccines[34] and said that she had not been vaccinated.[35]

Political positions

Lake identifies as a conservative Republican[21] and described herself in 2022 as a “Trump candidate.”[10] During her 2022 gubernatorial campaign, she attracted support from right-wing extremists.[36][37] She accused President Joe Biden and Democrats of harboring a “demonic agenda.”[10] In 2021 and 2022, Lake attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual meeting of conservatives and Republicans, in Orlando.[21][22] [38]

Lake said in 2022 that she considers abortion to be “the ultimate sin”[39] and praised the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which held that there was no federal right to abortion under the U.S. Constitution, and overturned Roe v. Wade.[40] She expressed support for banning both surgical abortions and medication abortions in Arizona.[41] In an op-ed for the Independent Journal Review, Lake wrote that as governor she would deport illegal immigrants that enter Arizona without seeking federal approval and complete unfinished portions of Trump’s border wall.[42]

Lake has opposed legislation to create non-discrimination protections for people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and opposing restrooms accommodating transgender people.[43][44]

In an interview with 60 Minutes Australia journalist Liam Bartlett, Lake asserted that Australians “have no freedom” due to strict Australian gun laws;[45][46] in a tweet several months later, Lake said that if elected governor, she would not “recognize” federal gun laws.[47][48]

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