Hard-right former television news anchor Kari Lake has defeated attorney Karrin Taylor Robson in the Arizona Republican gubernatorial primary, delivering former President Donald Trump a big win over former Vice President Mike Pence in their escalating endorsement battle.
The AP called the race for Lake at 10:09 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, two days after the election, with an estimated 88% of the vote counted.
Lake held a lead with 46.8% of the vote, followed by Robson at 44%.
Lake faces Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) in the November general election.
Lake painted herself as a right-wing firebrand, making Trump’s false claims of voter fraud a central focus of her campaign, while mounting attacks on the media and calling for Hobbs to be “locked up” for not overturning President Joe Biden’s win in the state. Robson stated the 2020 election was unfair, but distanced herself from claims that Trump won. Robson comes from a family prominent in Arizona Republican politics, and questioned Lake’s Republican bona fides, noting her opponent was a registered Democrat who supported John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election and former President Barack Obama in 2008. The Arizona GOP primary was the second midterm race to feature Trump and Pence backing opposing candidates, as both seem to be gearing up for 2024 presidential runs. Pence’s candidate trounced Trump’s in the first matchup, the Georgia Republican gubernatorial primary, where Pence-endorsed Gov. Brian Kemp beat Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue by more than 50 percentage points.
What To Watch For
Trump and Pence square off in another endorsement showdown next Tuesday in Wisconsin’s Republican gubernatorial primary, with Trump’s candidate, businessman Tim Michels, facing Pence-endorsed Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.