Voters will decide who are the winners of the Arizona Republican Primary this Tuesday, putting an end to a long and divisive primary that will be crucial for both the fate of the southwestern state’s local politics and the control of Congress in this year’s midterm elections, as voters elect the Republican candidates for governor and Senate.
The race to become the Republican candidate for Governor will be won by either former TV host Kari Lake or lawyer Karrin Taylor Robson, with the winner most likely facing current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs this fall. The race for the Senate seat is a bit more crowded, with venture capitalist Blake Masters, entrepreneur Jim Lamon, and Attorney General Mark Brnovich fighting a tight three-way race to unseat Senator Mark Kelly in November.
The election results this Tuesday will have seismic importance in the nation’s politics since Arizona has become one of the most contested political battlegrounds in American electoral politics in recent years. Despite being historically a reliably Republican state, in 2020, the Democrats managed to turn the state blue after Senator Mark Kelly won the special election for Senate and President Joe Biden narrowly won the state by less than 0.5 percentage points —a result that has been challenged by former President Trump ever since.
Governor Doug Ducey cannot run again due to term limits (EFE)
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The controversy over the 2020 election fraud claims made by Trump has been at the center of a divisive two-year fight within the state’s Republican Party. Current Republican Governor Doug Ducey has been under fire by Trump and other conservative politicians for his certification of the results, which led to the state’s party censuring their governor in 2021. The state also held a much-covered voter audit in Maricopa county, which confirmed Biden’s win but criticized the state’s electoral laws.
The shadow of the 2020 election results has hovered somewhat around this year’s primaries, with the candidate for governor, Kari Lake accusing her rival’s refusal to say the election was stolen as “disqualifying” and senate candidate Brnovich being under fire by former President Trump due to his decision to certify the results.
The unpredictable Arizona Republican Primary for governor
Former TV news anchor Kari Lake is the current frontrunner in the race for the gubernatorial nomination for the GOP after she was endorsed by former President Trump and is leading in most polls over Taylor Robson, who has been endorsed by Gov. Ducey and former Vice-President Mike Pence.
As is usual in primary elections, both candidates have tried to paint themselves as the true conservative candidate in the election and accused their rivals of not being as committed to the party’s ideas as them. Robson has attacked Lake as a “fraud” and an “opportunist” after revealing some of Lake’s social media posts on transgender issues and abortion. Lake has labeled Robson as a “RINO” due to her refusal to back Trump’s claims over the 2020 election. Robson has tweeted that Lake’s accusations on election results are “meritless, reckless, and disqualifying”
Lake is the race’s frontrunner, but her lead over Robson varies greatly depending on the pollster. According to the latest poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights, Lake is enjoying a very comfortable 18-point lead over Robson. Still, an Emerson poll showed that Robson was ahead by one point over the former TV news anchor. However, Emerson’s survey is more of an outlier since Rasmussen and Trafalgar polls have Lake with a nine-point lead.
The Arizona race dynamics are similar to the Georgia primary for governor, where former President Trump endorsed David Perdue in his challenge against Brian Kemp due to the governor’s certification of the 2020 results. This election, however, will probably have a very different result than Kemp’s 30-point victory against Perdue.
Masters favorite in the three-way race for the Senate nomination
Republicans will also decide who out of three candidates will be the candidate to challenge incumbent Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) this fall. Despite the crowded election, the latest polls show that entrepreneur Blake Masters, who Trump and Peter Thiel endorsed, is the clear frontrunner of the race, with Lamon and Brnovich playing catchup.
The RealClearPolitics poll aggregator shows Masters with a healthy 13-point-lead over Lamon and Brnovich in a distant third. Unlike the gubernatorial race, Emerson and OH Predictive Insights show Mr. Masters with a lead of over 15 points.
Masters has campaigned as the “true MAGA” candidate and has promised to support tough border security policies, pass laws against “Woke teachers,” and expand gun rights to Arizonans. Lamon has made similar campaign promises and has attacked masters as being influenced by Californian tech companies, while Brnovich has campaigned on his record as Attorney General. Both candidates, however, have lost considerable momentum against Masters.
Leaving aside the questions over the results of the election held two years ago, the Republican candidates who win their primaries this year will have to unite their party if they want to have a chance at keeping the governor’s house and retaking the Senate in an election that will surely be fierce and highly competitive.