The Trump-aligned Republican candidate for governor in Arizona, Kari Lake, told reporters on Tuesday she would be their “worst fricking nightmare for eight years” if she defeated the Democrat Katie Hobbs for the job.
Lake has been talked up as a running mate for Donald Trump in his widely expected run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, which he has indicated he will announce this month.
Asked about the prospect on Tuesday, the former TV anchor said: “We have talked about this before. I’ve answered this question. I am going to not only be the governor of Arizona for four years, I’m going to do two terms.”
“I’m going to be your worst fricking nightmare for eight years, and we will reform the media as well. We are going to make you guys into journalists again, so get ready. It’s gonna be a fun eight years. I can’t wait to be working with you.”
Lake has mirrored Trump in attacking the mainstream media despite having thrived within it. Before entering politics, Trump hosted 14 seasons of The Apprentice for NBC. Lake had a long career as an anchor for KSAZ-TV, a Fox affiliate in Phoenix.
On election day, Lake shared a campaign ad in which she smashed TVs.
“It’s time to take a sledgehammer to the mainstream media’s lies and propaganda,” Lake, who has repeated Trump’s propagandist lie about electoral fraud in his defeat by Joe Biden in 2020, said in the three-and-a-half-minute ad.
The TVs Lake destroyed showed anchors from MSNBC and CNN, including Don Lemon, still employed at CNN, and two who have left, Chris Cuomo and Brian Stelter.
Lake also said the media used “fear-mongering to manipulate a scared and broken population”, a tactic “right out of a communist playbook”.
“I know this because I used to work for the mainstream media,” she said.
As Arizona voted on Tuesday, Lake’s shift into politics looked likely to pay off. The Cook Political Report rated the gubernatorial race a toss-up but the polling website FiveThirtyEight gave Lake a 68% chance of winning. The University of Virginia Center for Politics said the race leaned Republican.
“Lake’s views on the legitimacy of the 2020 election have made her a polarizing figure,” Larry Sabato, Kyle Kondik and J Miles Coleman wrote, pointing to worries about how Lake might approach the presidential election in 2024.
“But she is more charismatic than her Democratic opponent … who drew criticism for refusing to debate.”