Showdown? Trump, Pence endorse opposing candidates in Arizona’s GOP primary

Trump-endorsed Kari Lake is squaring off against Pence-backed Karrin Taylor Robson.

Updated: July 18, 2022 - 11:44pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Arizona’s GOP gubernatorial race is shaping up to be another proxy battle between former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.

In one corner is former news anchor Kari Lake, who has led in polling and boasts the support of Trump. In the opposite corner is businesswoman and lobbyist Karrin Taylor Robson, who announced early Monday morning that she’d received Pence’s endorsement.

“As Arizona Democrats pursue the reckless Biden-Harris agenda, Karrin Taylor Robson is the only candidate for Governor that will keep Arizona’s border secure and streets safe, empower parents and create great schools, and promote conservative values,” Pence said in a statement from Taylor Robson’s campaign. “Karrin is the best choice for Arizona’s future, and I am proud to support her.”

Trump will be headlining a rally in Prescott Valley Friday featuring Lake and other GOP contenders he’s endorsed. The rally is hosted by the state Republican Party, which has taken the rare step of endorsing and supporting certain candidates in contested elections.

Trump endorsed former Fox 10 anchor Kari Lake in September 2021.

“Kari will make her wonderful family, and the MAGA movement, very proud,” he said of Lake in his endorsement. “Kari Lake has my Complete and Total Endorsement.”

Meanwhile, Pence will be speaking at events in central Arizona in support of Taylor Robson.

The split between Trump and Pence isn’t the first in this year’s GOP primaries. Trump endorsed former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who sought to unseat incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp. The sitting governor, who had Pence’s approval, handily defeated Trump’s favored candidate.

Taylor Robson also received outgoing Gov. Doug Ducey’s support.

“There are no surprises with Karrin,” Ducey said in a campaign ad. “She’s a lifelong conservative Republican who got her start working for President Ronald Reagan.”

Arizona’s primary is Aug. 2.