Arizona’s primary GOP tests the power of Trump’s election lies

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PHOENIX (TBEN) — The Republican Party’s embrace of Donald Trump’s electoral lies will be put to the test Tuesday as voters in Arizona choose between candidates who say they wouldn’t have certified the results of the 2020 campaign and those who do. claim it’s time to move on.

The former president has supported and campaigned for a range of contenders who back his lies, most notably former television news anchor Kari Lake in the run for governor. Lake, who says she allegedly refused to certify President Joe Biden’s narrow victory in Arizona, faces Karrin Taylor Robson, a lawyer and businesswoman who says the GOP must focus on the future, despite an election she’s holding. unfair’.

And in the race to oversee the election as Secretary of State, Trump is also backing a state legislator who was in the US Capitol on Jan. 6 and claims the former president has been stripped of victory.

As the high school season enters its final stretch this month, the Arizona races are poised to provide important clues as to the direction of the GOP. Victories by Trump-backed candidates could provide the former president with allies who hold sway over election management as he considers a new bid for the White House in 2024. However, defeats may indicate an openness in the party to another way forward.

“I think the majority of people, and a lot of people who support Trump, want to move on,” said former Arizona governor Jan Brewer, who supports Robson. “I mean, that was two years ago. Let’s go. Let’s move on.”

Other closely watched races on Tuesday include the Republican games for the Governor of Michigan and the Missouri Senator. Kansas voters will be the first to vote on abortion rights since the US Supreme Court repealed a woman’s constitutional right to abortion. And two members of the Washington State Republican House who voted to impeach Trump are facing primary challengers.

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But the contests are especially notable in Arizona, an old Republican stronghold that has become more favorable to Democrats in recent years due to explosive growth in and around Phoenix. The primaries and fall elections will provide insight into whether Biden’s success here in 2020 was a one-off event or the beginning of a long-term shift of the GOP.

With such high stakes, Arizona has been at the center of Trump and his allies’ efforts to question Biden’s victory with false claims of fraud.

Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no credible evidence that the election was tainted. The former president’s charges of fraud were also roundly rejected by courts, including judges appointed by Trump. A manual recount led by Trump supporters in Arizona’s largest county found no evidence of a stolen election and concluded Biden’s margin of victory was greater than the official count.

While Trump is still the most popular figure within the GOP, his efforts to influence this year’s primaries have yielded mixed results. His preferred candidates in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania had the upper hand in their primary.

But in Georgia, another state at the heart of Trump’s election lie, its handpicked candidate for governor was defeated by more than 50 percentage points. Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State was also nominated because of a Trump-backed primary rival.

The former president hopes he will have more success in Arizona, where the incumbent governor, Doug Ducey, cannot run for re-election. That could give Trump a better chance than Georgia to influence the winner.

Lake is well known throughout much of the state after anchoring the evening news in Phoenix for more than two decades. She is now a fierce critic of the mainstream media, which she says is unfair to Republicans and other enemies of Trump’s Make America Great Again movement, including the McCain family.

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Lake, an outspoken supporter of Trump’s election lies, says her campaign “detects all that theft” in her own race, but she has repeatedly declined to provide any evidence for the claim.

Robson, whose husband, a home developer, is one of the wealthiest men in the state, is largely self-funding her campaign. The GOP establishment, increasingly comfortable with distancing itself from Trump, has gathered around it in the past month with a string of endorsements from Ducey, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike pennies.

The tidal wave of establishment support for Robson has drawn national attention to a race for what it says on the GOP base ahead of the pivotal presidential primaries in two years.

“Everyone wants to try and make this some sort of proxy for 2024,” said Christie, who ran for president in 2016. “Believe me, I’ve been through enough of this to know that 2024 will be decided by the people who step up to the record and ’24 and how they perform or don’t perform at that time.”

Robson is running a largely old-fashioned Republican campaign aimed at lowering taxes and regulations, securing the border and promoting school choice.

On the Democratic side, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is leading the charge against Marco Lopez, a former mayor of Nogales and border enforcement officer during President Barack Obama’s administration.

As Arizona’s top election official, Hobbs endeared himself to Democrats with a passionate defense of the integrity of the 2020 election, a position that faced death threats. However, she is haunted by a discrimination case won by a black policy advisor from Hobbs’s time in the legislature.

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In the Senate race, Trump backs Blake Masters, a 35-year-old first-time candidate who has spent most of his career working for billionaire Peter Thiel, who finances his campaign. Masters highlights cultural grievances that fuel the right, including critical race theory and accusations of major technical censorship.

Until Trump’s approval, the race had no clear frontrunner between Masters, businessman Jim Lamon and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, all of whom jockeyed for his support.

Lamon says Trump made a mistake in approving Masters and is digging into his own fortune to highlight Masters’ ties to tech companies and his writings as a student who supports open borders. Lamon falsely signed a certificate stating that Trump had won Arizona in 2020 and that he was one of the state’s “duly elected and qualified” voters.

Trump soured Brnovich and may have torpedoed his campaign when the attorney general’s election fraud investigation yielded no criminal charges against election officials.

The eventual primary winner will face incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly in the fall.

The Republican race for secretary of state includes Mark Finchem, a Trump-backed candidate who was in the Capitol on Jan. 6, and Shawnna Bolick, a state legislator who has pushed for legislation that would allow the legislature to overturn the will of voters and decide which ones. candidate gets the state’s 11 electoral votes for the presidency. The GOP office has gathered around advertising director Beau Lane, who says there were no widespread problems with the 2020 election.

Republican state chairman Rusty Bowers, who testified to the House of Representatives committee on Jan. 6 about Trump’s post-2020 election pressure campaign, faces a Trump-backed challenger in his bid to rise to the Senate of the United States. the state.