With the Republican primaries current across the country, endorsements are putting party members at odds.
Former Vice President Mike Pence has not endorsed all the candidates of his former president, Donald Trump.
In some races, Trump and Pence are backing different candidates.
This is the second time recently that Pence has differed from Trump in the Republican primaries the past two months.
The former vice president endorsed Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and campaigned with the conservative governor outside of Atlanta on the eve of the state’s May 24 primary.
Kemp won against Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue in the primary.
Trump had repeatedly targeted Kemp ever since the governor certified the 2020 election results in Georgia, where Biden narrowly edged Trump in a key battleground state.
Now, both former leaders are heading to Arizona for a face-off between their respective candidates for governor.
Pence and Trump will be in Arizona on Friday to campaign with the candidates they are backing, which will likely lead to split-screen images of the former running mates who, speculation suggests, may end up facing off against each other in the 2024 GOP presidential nomination race.
Former President Trump is endorsing several candidates who are running for office in the primary.
Trump will be headlining a rally in Prescott Valley, Arizona – about 90 miles north of Phoenix – for Lake as well as three other GOP candidates the former president’s endorsed – venture capitalist Blake Masters for Senate, Abe Hamadeh for Arizona attorney general, and state Rep. Mark Finchem for Arizona secretary of state.
Trump is not a fan of current Arizona Governor Doug Ducey since he certified Biden’s razor-thin victory in the southwestern battleground rather than call votes into question.
Earlier this month, Ducey made headlines by endorsing Taylor Robson, and further alienated the former president.
“Karrin Taylor Robson is the best conservative in the race for governor,” Ducey told Fox News last week. “I’ve said that I’m going to care very much about who my successor is. And Karrin Taylor Robson is the real deal.”
Trump is endorsing Kari Lake, a former TV anchor, who has embraced election reform and is against mask/vaccine mandates.
Lake was soundly in Trump’s camp during the last presidential election, having stated that when she will come up against a Democrat in the gubernatorial race, her opponent will have to resort to having “dead people” vote to win in the Nov 2 election.
Pence followed Ducey on Monday in endorsing his candidate, Taylor Robson who is a real estate developer and Arizona Board of Regents member.
Ducey has gone as far as to malign Lake and has questioned her status as a conservative.
Other candidates competing for the Republican bid for the governor’s office are Scott Neely, a businessman, and Paola Tullani-Zen, a businesswoman.
While Taylor Robson and Lake mostly agree on many of the top issues in the Arizona primary battle – such as illegal immigration and border security, the economy, and water conservation.
But while both have issues with Trump’s 2020 election loss to President Biden, Lake heavily supports the former president’s unproven claims that the 2020 presidential contest was “rigged and stolen”.
The rhetoric between the opposing candidates is being referred to as a “proxy fight,” and it seems Pence is giving it his all in supporting Ducey and Taylor Robson.
Pence will be teaming up with Robson Taylor for two events – one in the Phoenix area and a border security event near Tucson.
The former vice president called Taylor Robson “the best choice for Arizona’s future” and emphasized in his statement that “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.”
Taylor Robson is one of the two polling front-runners in the Republican primary in a field of four candidates, along with former TV news anchor Kari Lake, who for months has been supported by Trump. The winner of the Republican primary will likely face off in November with Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is the leading contender for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in the one-time red state that has become a top general election battleground between the two major parties.
Taylor Robson, highlighting the Pence endorsement, said, “He has been a warrior for the sanctity of Life; limited government; law & order; opportunity for all; & the knowledge that our freedoms are granted by God. I’m proud to have him on my team.”
She emphasized that the former vice president “has never wavered in his conservative beliefs & commitment to our Constitution, & left a rock-solid legacy as Gov to which I will aspire.”
The battleground state of Arizona seems to be a battle between those who think elections in the U.S. are just fine and no fraud exists, and those who want to expose the fraud.
I am honored to announce the endorsement of former Vice President @Mike_Pence.
He has been a warrior for the sanctity of Life; limited government; law & order; opportunity for all; & the knowledge that our freedoms are granted by God.
— Karrin Taylor Robson for Arizona (@Karrin4Arizona) July 18, 2022