Kari Lake, Combatant Hard-Right Former TV Anchor, Wins GOP Nod For Arizona Governor

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Kari Lake, a former journalist, won the GOP nomination for governor of Arizona. (Photo: Ross D. Franklin/The Bharat Express News)

Kari Lake, a former journalist, won the GOP nomination for governor of Arizona. (Photo: Ross D. Franklin/The Bharat Express News)

Kari Lake, the former TV news anchor who built a campaign to bash the media like propagandists and promote lies about the 2020 election, won the GOP nomination for governor in Arizona on Thursday night.

In November, Lake will face Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the state’s chief election official, who is setting up a showdown portrayed as election denier versus election defender.

The Trump-backed former primetime anchor for a Phoenix TBEN-affiliated company defeated Karrin Taylor Robson, a real estate developer and attorney endorsed by Republican government-limited Doug Ducey.

Taylor Robson had an early lead after the polls closed on Tuesday, but Lake pulled through overnight as the votes were counted on Election Day. Wednesday morning, Lake led by less than 12,000 votes.

Lake delivered a confident speech to supporters at her election night party in Scottsdale, while also sowing unfounded doubts about the electoral system, the Republic of Arizona reported.

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“I wanted to come here tonight” [and] say, ‘Wow, we already have the final results,’ she said. “But we know how our election systems work and they don’t work well. And that’s one of the reasons I’m here.”

The primary GOP for governor was seen as a proxy war between Trump and Ducey, who became enemies after Ducey certified the election for Joe Biden. Lake has said she wouldn’t have done the same as governor in 2020, often calling the election “corrupt” and “stolen.” Joe Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate in 24 years to wear Arizona.

Trump campaigned for Lake last month, calling her a “truly wonderful woman” at the meeting on the same day that Pence, widely seen as preparing for his own presidential campaign against Trump in 2024, campaigned for Taylor Robson.

A minor celebrity in Arizona’s largest media market, Lake enjoyed a steep lead in the early polls, but the race tightened after Ducey’s approval. Taylor Robson also donated more than $15 million of her own fortune into the race.

The matchup was heavily nationalized around Trump in a diversifying state dealing with a water crisis and border security concerns.

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“[Taylor Robson] has a story about her campaign that is distinctly different from Lake’s story. All Lake is talking about is stolen elections and Trump and immigration. Karrin has a more nuanced story and expresses a more confident attitude to government that you would expect Republican voters to respond to,” GOP strategist Chuck Coughlin told The Bharat Express News before the primary.

“But how high is the fever of Trumpism still in the Republican Party? That’s a risky gamble.”

Karrin Taylor Robson, a real estate developer and attorney, lost the GOP nomination for governor to Kari Lake.  Taylor Robson was backed by incumbent Doug Ducey.  (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Karrin Taylor Robson, a real estate developer and attorney, lost the GOP nomination for governor to Kari Lake. Taylor Robson was backed by incumbent Doug Ducey. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Karrin Taylor Robson, a real estate developer and attorney, lost the GOP nomination for governor to Kari Lake. Taylor Robson was backed by incumbent Doug Ducey. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

This is Lake’s first run for political office after a three-decade career as a TV news anchor.

After what former colleagues described to The Bharat Express News as a rocky few years that roughly matched the Trump presidency — when she started using far-right social media platforms Parler and Gab — Lake left the station in 2021 and launched her campaign for governor not long after. . Before swinging hard to the right, Lake was a supporter of Barack Obama and reportedly shared a “not my president” meme about Trump before his inauguration.

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Since leaving the media, Lake has called people in her former profession “corrupt” and “rotten” and said some journalists deserve to be locked up.

Lake has campaigned alongside Mark Finchem, a Republican senator who shares her fringe views on the 2020 election and has the endorsement of a number of far-right figures associated with Trump. Democrats who saw that as a risk had boosted Lake in the primaries in hopes of having an easier-to-beat opponent by November.

But with a Republican governor and GOP-controlled legislature and two Democratic U.S. Senators, Arizona is known for its independent nature, giving both parties a chance to win as Joe Biden’s approval dwindles.

“Given where the electorate is” — on issues like the US-Mexico border and inflation — “I think the state is leaning Republican, even if Kari Lake is the nominee,” said Kirk Adams, a former chief of staff for Ducey and former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives.

“For those Democrats or progressives hoping for a Lake nomination, be careful what you wish for, because you could end up with Governor Lake,” he said.

This article originally appeared on The Bharat Express News and has been updated.

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