Kari Lake Sidesteps Her Right-Wing History in Announcing Bid for Governor

Kari Lake announced this week that she is running for governor.
Kari Lake announced this week that she is running for governor. Screenshot via Youtube

Kari Lake, a former longtime Fox10 News anchor who embraces right-wing conspiracy theories, is running for governor.

Yesterday, Lake filed a statement of interest with the Arizona Secretary of State to run for governor as a Republican, and a website for her gubernatorial bid went live. Then, in a video posted on Twitter last night, Lake made her big announcement.

"For 27 years, I’ve covered the people of Arizona and the politicians who have done more for themselves and their donors than us," she said in the video. "Arizonans deserve better. As governor, I’ll bring truth, courage, and integrity back to the State Capitol."

The video presents Lake as a mainstream conservative, and she rattled off familiar talking points. Small businesses are still struggling to rebound after "government-forced shut-downs" during the COVID-19 pandemic. Police officers are "under attack." Similarly, Lake described the U.S.-Mexico border as "out of control" and decried the proliferation of opioids and homelessness.

The announcement video conveniently side-stepped Lake's track record of peddling right-wing conspiracy theories, abandoning journalistic values, and adopting a conservative anti-cancel-culture crusade. She famously claimed in 2018 that a public school teacher strike for better pay was a secret scheme to legalize marijuana — her evidence was a parody T-shirt. And don't forget the time that she called Phoenix New Times a "rag for selling marijuana ads" on-air while defending her account on Parler, a conservative social media platform.

Lake has promoted unverified claims of voter fraud. She also promotes the baseless conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and that Venezuela, Cuba, and China were somehow involved. She has recently come under fire for being active on Gab, a conspiracy-riddled, anything-goes conservative social media site frequented by, among others, QAnon followers and white supremacists.

In a fitting illustration of her frosty relationship with Phoenix New Times, Lake did not respond to a request for comment regarding her candidacy.

In early March, Lake finally made her exit from journalism after video emerged of her hobnobbing at CPAC, a staple conference for conservative activists. In a video that she published on Rumble, yet another online platform used by conservatives, Lake announced her departure from Fox10 News, slamming the media as liberal and biased.

She reiterated those arguments in a new video posted on her gubernatorial campaign website, describing current media professionals as "brainwashed" 20-somethings who are "indoctrinated into liberal ideology."

"I believe that a lot of the media wants us to be afraid and angry," she said in the video. "I really value the truth and honesty and I didn’t feel that the media was interested in that any more."

Lake joins an already-crowded field of candidates jockeying to replace Republican Governor Doug Ducey, who is termed out, in the 2022 election. Six other gubernatorial candidates, including Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, have filed statements of interest for the Republican primary. Meanwhile, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announced her candidacy for governor this morning.
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Josh Kelety is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Inlander and Seattle Weekly.
Contact: Josh Kelety