Arizona is holding its primary Tuesday to decide who will be on the ballot in November, and the results could have major implications for the midterms.
A newly crowned swing state, Arizona has seen Democrats win statewide races in recent years against former President Donald Trump and candidates he supports. But a tough national landscape for Democrats this year could give Republican candidates an edge. Election integrity is an issue in a number of races, with candidates disagreeing over the 2020 election.
Here are three races to watch for out for in Arizona:
In the race for governor, former TV news host Kari Lake is running against developer Karrin Taylor Robson for the Republican nomination in a race that’s become a proxy for the future of the party.
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Lake, who’s repeated his false claim the 2020 election was stolen despite state-mandated and Republican-led audits finding no evidence that fraud affected the outcome of the election. Former Vice President Mike Pence backed Robson, as did sitting Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.
An OH Predictive Insights poll released Friday found Lake leading with 51% support among likely Republican voters in the state, ahead of Robson at 33% with 12% undecided.
Lake has said if she was governor in 2020, she wouldn’t have certified the election results, and she said at a rally last month “we will no longer accept rigged elections.” Lake even claimed without evidence fraud had already occurred in the 2022 race.
Robson told KTAR that Lake’s comments about fraud in 2022 were reckless. “It undermines our electoral process, and she should be disqualified for this kind of rhetoric,” Robson said.
The winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary is likely to face leading Democratic candidate Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a matchup between two women that would give the state its fifth female governor.
In Arizona’s Republican Senate primary, candidates are lining up to take on incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly. The top Republican, venture capitalist Blake Masters, was endorsed by Trump and leads with 36% support in the recent OH Predictive Insights poll.
Masters has the support of billionaire Peter Thiel, who he previously worked for. Thiel has given at least $15 million to a super PAC backing Masters called Saving Arizona. His next closest opponent, former energy executive Jim Lamon, is polling at 21%, followed by Attorney General Mark Brnovich, at 12%.
Lamon has criticized Masters for his support of Bitcoin and for calling for the U.S. to have a strategic reserve of the cryptocurrency, and he accused Masters of being soft on immigration. During his recent rally with Trump, Masters was laser-focused on Kelly, calling him the worst U.S. senator.
Open state Senate seat
It’s not every election that a former president endorses in a state legislature race. In Mesa, though, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers is running for state Senate after testifying before the Jan. 6 committee about efforts to pressure him into removing electors for Biden, earning him the wrath of Trump.
Bowers is facing off against a fellow Mesa Latter-day Saint David Farnsworth, who Trump endorsed. Farnsworth told Insider two reasons he left retirement to run against Bowers is because he believes Bowers didn’t do enough to inspire confidence in the election results and because he supported holding a hearing on an LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill.
Bowers told ABC News he’s been called a traitor and told by people that they’re ashamed of him after his testimony, but he said the idea of throwing out election results was foreign to him. “The Constitution was designed to last and be the light of freedom to the whole world,” Bowers said. “That’s not a legacy that I would want to play with.”
In a debate last month, Bowers disputed the accusation he did not do enough to support election integrity by pointing to bills “tightening up all types of election procedures” that have been recently passed. Farnsworth said he believed Trump won the 2020 election but said he didn’t have enough evidence. He said he believed the public should have been able to attend hearing about the election and, “if nothing else there would have been a great satisfaction with people feeling that their government is listening.”