Former Local TV Talent Has Tough Time in Midterm Elections

 Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake speaks to supporters during her election night event at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch on November 08, 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Two on-air figures who stepped back from TV station roles to run for governor have both lost their elections. Mark Ronchetti, who resigned as chief meteorologist at KRQE Albuquerque last year to run for New Mexico governor, lost the election to the Democratic incumbent, Michelle Lujan Grisham. And Kari Lake, who spent 22 years on the air at KSAZ Phoenix, has lost the Arizona governor’s race to Democrat Katie Hobbs. 

Lake spent 27 years in local TV. She retired in March 2021 and announced her candidacy in June 2021. “I treasured my career, and that job. It meant the world to me for all those years,” she said in a “My Story” video on her website. 

But Lake grew mistrustful toward local TV, and the media in general. “I realized there was an agenda being proposed by the media,” she said, “and I didn’t want to be part of that agenda.”

Also: C-SPAN To Cover Trump Announcement Live

She went on to call the media “unethical”, “biased” and “completely immoral.”

KSAZ is owned by Fox Television Stations. 

Lake spoke about the dilemma of giving up the salary of a big-city anchor, but shared how a Bible verse encouraged her to make the break from local TV. 

B+C reached out to Lake to speak about her career in broadcasting in April. Lake was not available to speak. 

Her introductory video details Lake’s childhood in rural Iowa, touches on her work as a janitor in a drug treatment center, shares a few interactions with God as Lake sought guidance, and words of praise from President Trump. She vowed to finish Trump’s efforts to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. 

Lake said her janitorial stint better prepared her for being governor than anchoring in Phoenix did. Being a janitor, she said, “might be the job that prepares me most for politics.”

The tight governor’s race was called the night of November 14, but Lake isn’t giving in. “Arizonans know BS when they see it,” she tweeted, one of several Twitter posts from Lake questioning the validity of the election. 

Same goes for Trump. “Wow! They just took the election away from Kari Lake. It’s really bad out there!” he wrote on Truth Social. 

Ronchetti had vowed to be “a governor who will fight to empower and encourage small businesses. A governor who will fight for parents and kids to ensure they get the education they deserve. A governor who will take our rapidly growing crime rate seriously and will take steps to make our cities and border safer. Most importantly, I’ll be a governor that does more than talk. I’ll listen and find solutions that actually work."

Nexstar owns KRQE. 

On November 10, Ronchetti shared on Twitter, “Thank you, New Mexico. It was an honor to run for Governor of this beautiful state.”

Another TV figure, Dr. Mehmet Oz, lost the election for Pennsylvania senator. Oz covered health matters on The Oprah Winfrey Show before hosting syndicated The Dr. Oz Show, which lasted for 13 seasons. ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.