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 on June 1, 2021,[3] and is the Republican nominee in the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial election.[4]

Kari Lake
Kari Lake by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Kari Ann Lake

(1969-08-23) 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)
  • Tracy Finnegan
    (m. 1991, divorced)
  • Jeff Halperin
    (m. 1998)
WebsiteCampaign website

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

GOP Primary Results
  •   40–50%
  •   50–60%
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]

Promotion of false election claims and alignment with Trump

Lake has been a leading proponent of the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen" from Trump.[49] During her campaign, she aligned herself with Trump,[31] and made promotion of election lies central to her candidacy.[49][50][51]

Lake falsely claimed President Joe Biden did not receive 81 million votes and that Arizona (which was won by Biden in the 2020 presidential election) was actually won by Trump.[49][52] After the 2021 Maricopa County presidential ballot audit found no evidence of election fraud, she demanded the election be "decertified"—a legal impossibility,[49] as such a process does not exist.[53] She endorsed a false assertion by Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington that Democrats use mail-in ballots to rig elections. Lake tweeted quotes made by Sidney Powell on Lou Dobbs Tonight falsely asserting there was a sweeping election fraud conspiracy. She has advocated imprisoning Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (who is running for governor in 2022 as a Democrat) on baseless and unspecified allegations of criminality related to the 2020 election.[49] Lake also called for imprisoning journalists.[49] Lake repeatedly and falsely claimed that defendants arrested in connection with the January 6 United States Capitol attack were being "being held in prison without being charged."[54][55]

Trump endorsed Lake's candidacy,[56] as did pro-Trump Republican figures such as Arizona congressman Paul Gosar and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.[57] By contrast, Lake's main primary opponent, Robson, was endorsed by outgoing Republican governor Doug Ducey,[58] as well as Arizona Senate president Karen Fann and Americans for Prosperity.[53] Lake attacked Robson for failing to endorse false claims of election fraud.[50] Lake attended events headed by My Pillow founder Mike Lindell, a prominent promoter of false claims regarding fraud in the 2020 election.[31] During her 2021 campaign for governor, she said that she would not have certified Biden's 2020 election victory in Arizona if she had been governor at the time.[59] During a June 2022 debate among candidates for the Republican nomination, Lake continued to insist the 2020 presidential election was "stolen" and "corrupt."[50]

Fox News reported in July 2022 that days before Trump's inauguration, Lake had posted a meme on Facebook that declared the inauguration a "national day of mourning and protest", in which she asked her followers how they would react to Trump's inauguration. She asked "Will you be protesting the inauguration?" and how they might protest. The post was deleted after Fox News asked Lake's campaign about it.[60][61]

Dispute with Rick Stevens

After Lake posted remarks critical of drag queens performing in front of children, Rick Stevens, who performs professionally under the name Barbra Seville, published photos and text messages purportedly demonstrating a professional relationship and personal friendship with Lake. Stevens said that he has performed at Lake's home and in front of Lake's then "9 or 10 years old" daughter at Lake's invitation. Lake described Stevens' allegations as "defamatory lies," specifically denying they had been friends and denying that he had ever been in her home. Lake has threatened litigation against both Stevens and outlets that pursued the story.[62][63][64][65]

Endorsement of anti-Semitic candidate

Lake endorsed Jarrin Jackson, a far-right online streamer, in his campaign for State Senate in Oklahoma. Jackson was subsequently scruntized for his past record of making antisemitic comments, including claims that "the Jews" are evidence that "evil exists"; that "Jews will go to hell"; and that "Jews taking over the world." These prompted groups such as Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix to call on Lake (and other Arizona Republicans who endorsed Jackson, including Mark Finchem) to rescind their endorsements.[66][67] Lake denounced Jackson's comments and said that, "I looked at Jarrin's resume as (a) Combat Veteran in Afghanistan. It is impossible to dig into everything someone has said in their life. If his reported comments are true, I obviously rescind my endorsement."[68][69]

Personal life

Lake has been married to Jeff Halperin since August 1998.[15] She was previously married to Tracy Finnegan, an electrical engineer.[70]


  1. ^ "Marriage licenses". Quad-City Times. June 16, 1991. p. 29. Retrieved January 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
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  3. ^ a b c d e f Schwarz, D. Hunter (October 15, 2021). "How Kari Lake went from mainstream media to Arizona's leading MAGA candidate for governor". Deseret News.
  4. ^ Cooper, Jonathan. "Trump ally Kari Lake wins GOP primary for Arizona governor". AP News.
  5. ^ "Obituaries". Quad-City Times. October 15, 2009. p. C4. Retrieved January 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Obituaries". The Dispatch. May 3, 1995. p. A8. Retrieved January 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Obituaries". The Rock Island Argus. December 23, 1985. p. 5. Retrieved January 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
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  9. ^ The Shield, North Scott High School, 1986, pg. 61. Accessed 07-07-2022. [1]
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Craig Outhier, The Mysteries of Kari Lake, Phoenix (July 7, 2022).
  11. ^ a b Lorenzen, Ron (December 14, 1992). "Comedy Challenge keeps people laughing". Quad-City Times. p. 2T. Retrieved January 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Channel 12 hires weather anchor". Arizona Republic. August 24, 1994. p. 6. Retrieved January 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
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  14. ^ Clancy, Michael (October 17, 1998). "Rumors of Majik 107's sale persist". Arizona Republic. p. D10. Retrieved January 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ a b Tropiano, Dolores (August 19, 1998). "Nordstrom remains well-heeled". Arizona Republic. p. B8. Retrieved January 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ Clancy, Michael (September 4, 1999). "'NewShow' fluff count still high". Arizona Republic. p. D12. Retrieved December 17, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ Clancy, Michael (December 11, 1999). "KEZ's Maggie Brock on leave because of muscle disorder". Arizona Republic. p. D4. Retrieved January 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "FOX 10's Kari Lake 1-on-1 with President Obama". WAGA-TV. May 3, 2016.
  19. ^ "Only on FOX: Kari Lake interviews President Donald Trump ahead of Phoenix rally". KSAZ-TV. February 19, 2020.
  20. ^ Longhi, Lorraine (April 25, 2018). "Local news anchor Kari Lake apologizes for tweet that #RedForEd is cover to legalize pot". Arizona Republic. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  21. ^ a b c d e f Resnik, Brahm (June 18, 2021). "Before she embraced Donald Trump, she signed on with Democrats as Barack Obama's fortunes soared". 12news.com. Retrieved October 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ a b Welch, Dennis (June 15, 2021). "Kari Lake defends donating to Democratic presidential candidates". AZFamily. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  23. ^ Duda, Jeremy (October 11, 2021). "The 'unstoppable' Kari Lake?". Arizona Mirror.
  24. ^ Oxford, Andrew (June 1, 2021). "Another GOP candidate jumps into governor's race: Former TV anchor Kari Lake files paperwork to run". Arizona Republic.
  25. ^ a b c Stacey Barchenger, Matt Salmon leaves race for Arizona governor, Arizona Republic (June 28, 2022).
  26. ^ a b McGraw, Meridith. "Among Donald Trump's endorsements, one holds a special place in his heart: Kari Lake". Politico.
  27. ^ Siders, David (July 23, 2022). "Trump and Pence squared off in the desert. It was one-sided". POLITICO. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  28. ^ Stone, Kevin (January 19, 2022). "Hobbs, Lake each spent more than $1M on Arizona governor race in 2021". KTAR News.
  29. ^ Alexander, Rachel (January 24, 2022). "Kari Lake Campaign for Governor Raises Almost Three Times More Money as Pundits Predicted". Arizona Sun Times.
  30. ^ "Trump-backed candidate Kari Lake wins Arizona primary". ABC News. August 5, 2022.
  31. ^ a b c d Resnik, Brahm (August 15, 2021). "'Take the mask and shove it': Kari Lake leads anti-mask rally at ASU. Here are 5 takeaways". 12news.com. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  32. ^ "Kari Lake is trying to make the jump from TV news to governor of Arizona. Can she do it?". KNXV. August 10, 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  33. ^ Schwenk, Katya (November 23, 2021). "Kari Lake Says She's Taking Hydroxychloroquine to Ward Off COVID-19". Phoenix New Times.
  34. ^ Gabby Orr, Trump at odds with preferred candidates on Covid vaccines, CNN (January 31, 2022).
  35. ^ Lucien Bruggeman, Candidates' vaccine hesitancy 'demonstrates the limits' of Trump's grip on GOP, say experts, ABC News (February 16, 2022).
  36. ^ Em Steck and Andrew Kaczynski, Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate appears with Nazi sympathizer and QAnon-linked activists at campaign events, CNN (November 8, 2021).
  37. ^ Robert Gavin, Ex-Capital Region news anchor schmoozes with extremists in bid for Arizona governor, Times Union (November 5, 2021).
  38. ^ Lake, Kari. "Kari Lake's Full Speech at CPAC 2022 in Orlando, Florida". Kari Lake for Governor. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  39. ^ Here's what Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake says about abortion, KTAR (May 11, 2022).
  40. ^ Taylor Seely, Maritza Dominguez, Sasha Hupka, Stephanie Innes, Sam Kmack, Ananya Tiwari, Arizonans, health professionals and politicians react to Roe v. Wade abortion ruling, Arizona Republic (June 24, 2022).
  41. ^ Nick Mordowanec, Arizona Republican Eyes Ban on Abortion Pills Over Lack of Supervision, Newsweek (June 28, 2022).
  42. ^ Lake, Kari (January 5, 2022). "Kari Lake: Arizona Will Do What Washington Won't - Finish the Wall and Defend Our State". Independent Journal Review. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  43. ^ Vachon, Nick. "Kari Lake defends anti-LGBTQ discrimination in Arizona: 'I have a lot of gay friends'". The American Independent. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  44. ^ Roberts, Laurie (March 20, 2022). "Kari Lake goes on the attack and Karrin Taylor Robson must be ... pleased". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  45. ^ Republican Kari Lake says Aussies have no freedoms due to giving up their guns, before storming out of interview, ABC News (Australia) (with Agence France-Presse (March 14, 2022).
  46. ^ Kari Lake vs Liam Bartlett: 60 Minutes interview goes off the rails, ABC News (Australia) (February 14, 2022).
  47. ^ Alex Griffing, Trump-Backed Arizona Gov. Candidate Vows to Defy Federal Gun Laws, Dares DOJ to Stop Her: What Are They Gonna Do, 'Arrest a Sitting Governor?', Mediaite (June 22, 2022).
  48. ^ Abe Asher, Trump-backed governor candidate says she won't recognise federal gun laws if elected and dares DOJ to stop her, Independent (June 24, 2022).
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  50. ^ a b c Dale, Daniel (July 1, 2022). "Lie as litmus test: Arizona governor candidate Kari Lake calls it 'disqualifying' for rival not to declare 2020 election 'stolen'". CNN.
  51. ^ Jonathan J. Cooper &, Bob Christie, Republicans square off in raucous Arizona governor debate, Associated Press (June 30, 2022): "focused much of her campaign on the lie that the 2020 election was marred by fraud"
  52. ^ Siders, David; Montellero, Zach (September 20, 2021). "'It's spreading': Phony election fraud conspiracies infect midterms". Politico. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  53. ^ a b Jessica Boehm, Lake, Robson spar in debate ahead of GOP gubernatorial primary, Axios (June 30, 2022).
  54. ^ Amy Sherman, Arizona GOP candidate Kari Lake wrongly says Jan. 6 defendants are in prison without charges, PolitiFact (March 17, 2022).
  55. ^ Angelo Fichera, Jan. 6 defendants have been charged with crimes, Associated Press (February 11, 2022).
  56. ^ Barchenger, Stacey (September 28, 2021). "Kari Lake gets coveted endorsement from former President Trump in Arizona governor's race". Arizona Republic. Retrieved September 29, 2021.
  57. ^ Clift, Eleanor (November 10, 2021). "Kari Lake Is the Camera Ready, Big-Lie Loving Future of the MAGA Movement". The Daily Beast. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  58. ^ Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Ducey backs Taylor Robson over Trump candidate in Ariz. governor race, Washington Post (July 7, 2022).
  59. ^ Berman, Ari (October 2, 2021). "Trump's candidate for Arizona governor says she would not have certified Biden's victory". Mother Jones. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  60. ^ Mastrangelo, Dominick (July 20, 2022). "Kari Lake posted anti-Trump meme days before '17 inauguration: Fox News". The Hill.
  61. ^ Spady, Aubrie (July 20, 2022). "Trump-backed Kari Lake shared anti-Trump 'not my president' meme on Facebook days before 2017 inauguration". Fox News.
  62. ^ Gilbert, David (June 20, 2022). "Anti-Drag GOP Candidate Forgot She Was Friends With a Drag Queen for Years". Vice.
  63. ^ Barchenger, Stacey (June 18, 2022). "'She's thrown away my friendship': Drag queen calls out Kari Lake for hypocrisy". Arizona Republic.
  64. ^ "Kari Lake pushes back at drag queen with demand to 'cease and desist'". Azcentral.com. June 18, 2022. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  65. ^ Kaonga, Gerrard (June 28, 2022). "Kari Lake Erupts At Fox's Bret Baier for Mentioning Drag Queen Accusations". Newsweek.com. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  66. ^ Small, Jim (August 20, 2022). "Kari Lake endorsed an antisemitic Oklahoma Republican who says 'the Jews' are evil". Arizona Mirror. Retrieved August 20, 2022.
  67. ^ Ron Kampeas, GOP Arizona governor hopeful pans endorsee's remark that Jews are 'evil', times of Israel (August 23, 2022).
  68. ^ Duda, Jeremy (August 20, 2022). "Arizona's Kari Lake denounces "derogatory" language from Oklahoma candidate she endorsed". Axios. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  69. ^ Folmar, Chloe (August 22, 2022). "Trump-backed Kari Lake pulls endorsement for Oklahoma candidate over antisemitic comments". The Hill. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  70. ^ Lorenzen, Ron (August 8, 1994). "KWQC alters afternoon lineup for news". Quad-City Times. p. 2T. Retrieved January 7, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.

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