For months speculation has swirled over whether Ducey would approve of a bitter primary race largely defined by whether the two leading candidates accept the results of the 2020 presidential election, illegal immigration and border security, and the economy. Ducey has a limited duration.
“I have reviewed each of the gubernatorial candidates this year, and there is no doubt who the proven conservative ready to lead on day one is: Karrin Taylor Robson,” Ducey said in a written statement. “I am proud to offer Karrin my full support.”
The support could motivate moderate Republicans and independent voters, a crucial voting bloc, to back Taylor Robson.
The primary is August 2. The leading contender for the Democratic nomination is Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
Ducey has generally been on good terms with many mainstream conservatives, but less so with Trump and grassroots Republicans after silencing a phone call from the former president in December 2020 as he certified the 2020 election results from the State. Trump mocked Ducey and fired him as a RINO (Republican in name only) for his reluctance to support Trump’s false allegations of widespread voter fraud and a rigged election.
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Ducey entered the fray in the gubernatorial race a day after early voting began and a week after a rowdy televised debate that left Arizona voters with little political substance but a clear sense of acrimony between voters. candidates.
At times, the moderator pleaded for respectful dialogue even as the contestants spoke loudly above him.
Republicans Scott Neely and Paola Tulliani-Zen are also in the running for the nomination, but the real race is between Taylor Robson and Lake. Another candidate, former Congressman Matt Salmon (R-Arizona) dropped out before the debate and endorsed Taylor Robson.
At a pivotal point in the debate, Lake reiterated his long-held position that the election was stolen from Trump and that Joe Biden, “lost the election and he shouldn’t be in the White House.”
Taylor Robson says the 2020 election “was absolutely not fair”. She was the only candidate to say she would accept the results of the upcoming election.
Taylor Robson is an Arizona native and lifelong Republican who entered politics while working for President Ronald Reagan decades ago. She is widely considered the most conventional Republican candidate in the primary ballot and supports Ducey’s record of promoting conservative policies, such as expanded school choice and tax cuts.
“As governor, I intend to build on this legacy,” Taylor Robson said in a statement.
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She’s locked in a competitive battle with Lake, a longtime household name who quit his job with Phoenix’s Fox-TV affiliate last year and mounted an outside bid for governor.
Lake has drawn support from a large faction of GOP voters even as his conservative credentials come under fire. Roadside campaign signs across the state seek to remind voters of its past as a registered Democrat during the early years of former President Barack Obama’s first term.
Lake won the support of Trump, who quickly saw her as an ally who echoed his baseless claims of a stolen election in a state he narrowly lost in 2020. On Wednesday, the former president ridiculed Ducey in her own statement and encouraged her followers to vote for Lake: “She has my complete and total endorsement!”
It was not immediately clear whether Ducey would deploy the resources of the RGA to help Taylor Robson, as he has done in Georgia, Virginia and elsewhere.
Until this year, Ducey has generally stayed out of primary competitions in Arizona.
But in March, when Ducey ruled out a bid for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate, he signaled his intention to weigh in on the Arizona races.
“We have a strong field of candidates in Arizona and I will actively support our candidate — and perhaps weigh in ahead of the primary,” Ducey told donors in a letter.