SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — On October 4, 2022, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is expected to be in Scottsdale, AZ, at the offices of Jetset Magazine (a publication which seeks to “define affluence with the best in luxury cars, travel, private jets, yachts, fine dining, fashion, and high-end living) for a campaign event for Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.
The event, Coffee with Kristi & Kari, will be held at 9:00 a.m. Guests must RSVP to the event, which is being hosted by Moms For Kari.
Some in South Dakota may be wondering, who is Kari Lake?
Lake, who won her primary with 46.8% of the vote, is perhaps best known for her advocacy of baseless election fraud conspiracy theories. She has called the 2020 presidential election unfair, and claimed that it was stolen; that Biden “lost the election and shouldn’t be in the White House.” She went on to claim that had she been governor at the time, she would not have certified Biden’s win in Arizona.
A Republican-funded audit of the election in Arizona, which took six-months to complete, found that Biden had in fact won the state, and in fact found that he had won by 360 more votes than had officially been reported.
Lake even claimed fraud in her primary race, stating without evidence that she’d overcome 41,000 fraudulent votes to win the race. No evidence of such fraud has been found, nor has Lake offered any. Lake began making the claims of fraud before the official results were in. “If we don’t win, there’s some cheating going on,” she claimed. This was despite polls in late July showing her trailing her Republican primary challenger, albeit in a vary narrow race.
In a Republican primary debate, Lake asked her fellow Republican opponents to raise their hands if they believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen, then later went on to claim that 200,000 false ballots were trafficked by mules, a claim for which there is zero evidence to support.
Lake is currently facing Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, in the general election.
The journey to politics for Lake was not necessarily typical. On her website a campaign video serves as a biography. In the video, Lake talks about her Midwest Iowa roots, and recalls a day from her childhood when she watched a plane fly over and had a vision from God.
“During that time when I lived out in the country, I remember having a really tight, close moment with God,” says Lake in the video. “I saw a plane flying over and it was really tiny, and I thought to myself, ‘someday I’m going to be on a plane doing something.’ And I had this God moment — where it was almost like God said to me ‘you are going to be on a plane — you’re going to go places — you’re gonna do something big.'”
Lake cites Ronald Reagan as her hero and the reason she registered as a Republican when she turned 18. Not mentioned in the campaign video is the fact that she switched her registration to Democrat in 2008, the day after Obama won the Iowa Caucus. She would later switch back to Republican in Obama’s final year in office.
She attended the University of Iowa, at which time she worked as a janitor before starting a career in TV journalism with Fox 10, a station in Phoenix, Arizona. She worked there for 27 years before quitting during the pandemic, saying she felt the media had an agenda for COVID.
Following her exit from journalism, Lake stepped into politics and was endorsed by Trump as she pushed conspiracies about the national presidential election and her own primary election.
After the Republican gubernatorial primary was called for Lake, her opponent Karrin Taylor Robson conceded her defeat, saying “The voters of Arizona have spoken — I accept the results, I trust the process and the people who administer it.”
Ahead of the primary election, when Lake was already spreading accusations of fraud if she was to lose, Robson criticized her, saying that Lake’s baseless accusations of fraud should disqualify her from holding office. “She is undermining the election before the votes are even counted,” Robson said of Lake.
On Lake’s campaign site’s ‘Issues’ page, she notes a belief that the COVID-19 vaccines have been revealed to have significant deadly side-effects, and that they provide little to no protection from contracting COVID-19.
According to the CDC, most side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are mild, and while serious side effects can occur, they are very rare. The CDC also notes that the vaccines still provide substantial protection.
Much of the misinformation spread to imply that the COVID-19 vaccine has been found to deadly rely on misinterpretations of VAERS data, which is the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. This system shows that in the U.S., over 17,000 people who have been vaccinated have died. This does not mean the vaccine was a factor in these deaths.
The CDC specifically states that “VAERS is not designed to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event. A report to VAERS does not mean the vaccine caused the event.”
VAERS data cannot be used to determine the cause of events for several reasons. First of all, it is a passive reporting system, meaning that it is up to patients, relatives, providers and others to submit the data to the CDC. Due to variations in reporting, the data is not a complete set. Also, the system collects all adverse effects of a vaccine, which can range from things like light fatigue or a headache all the way up to death.
Healthcare providers are required to report certain types of events to the VAERS system. Since many people experiencing mild symptoms are unlikely to consult with a physician, those side effects are less likely to be reported. This means that more severe side effects (such as death) are reported at a higher rate, as such effects are required to be reported.
Finally, reports to VAERS are meant to incorporate any possible side effects to a vaccine, even if the symptom reported was not caused by the vaccine. For example, if a patient is vaccinated for COVID-19 and later dies of a brain aneurism, that death will still be reported to VAERS due to the fact that the patient had been vaccinated.
In short, deaths reported in VAERS are deaths of people who happen to have been vaccinated, not deaths caused by vaccination. This can all be understood better with help from the University of Missouri.
Lake also discusses her dislike of California, her concerns about the elections and her desire to build a wall and deputize Arizonans to perform border patrol duties.
Lake’s anti-abortion stance is also represented, where she advocates alternatives to abortion, including over-the-counter access to all common forms of birth control, as well as financial assistance for those who may not be able to afford birth control.
Other topics addressed include homelessness, education and shutting down teacher’s unions, the Second Amendment (“Shall. Not. Be. Infringed.,” is all that is written), supporting local business, religious freedom, support for police, rural community preservation, military support, water access, cancel culture and Arizona’s role in going to space.
KELOLAND News reached out to Noem’s campaign on the morning of Oct. 3, asking if an itinerary/schedule of Noem’s campaign trip will be provided, how the Governor is travelling to the campaign stop, and whether Noem supports Lake’s claims about the 2020 election being stolen.
In a response to these questions, Ian Fury, Noem’s communications director, who has taken a leave of absence to work on the campaign, did not answer any of the questions asked, instead writing in an email: “Why is it a surprise that Republicans are helping Republicans? South Dakota is proving that Freedom gets results, and Kari Lake will bring the same principles to Arizona.”
Lake herself weighed in on South Dakota politics on Monday, Tweeting at Noem’s Democratic challenger Jamie Smith in response to a Tweet of his about the campaign event with Noem.