Former Vice President Mike Pence and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who co-chairs the Republican Governors Association (RGA), are once again facing off against ex-President Donald Trump in a crucial gubernatorial primary — this time in Ducey’s backyard.
On Monday, Pence endorsed Karrin Taylor Robson in the hotly contested Republican primary for Arizona governor in the face of Trump’s endorsement of far-right election denier Kari Lake, who has said she wouldn’t have certified Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election if she were governor.
That’s a necessary stance to hold if you want to secure Trump’s endorsement in general, but especially in a gubernatorial primary in Arizona. Trump’s been angry with the outgoing Ducey since the 2020 election, when the governor refused to overturn the results in his state.
“Karrin is the best choice for Arizona’s future, and I am proud to support her,” Pence said in his endorsement, calling her “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.”
The former vice president’s endorsement came a day after Ducey, who is term-limited and has also endorsed Taylor Robson, put Lake on blast during a CNN interview and warned Arizonians against buying into her lies about the 2020 election.
“Kari Lake’s misleading voters with no evidence,” Ducey said, emphasizing that, “I don’t think we should think for one more moment about 2020.”
The Arizona governor also accused the Trump-backed candidate of faking her far-right embrace.
“This is all an act,” he said. “She’s been putting on a show for some time now, and we’ll see if the voters of Arizona buy it.”
Earlier this month, Ducey endorsed Taylor Robson as “the real deal” who “conservatives can trust.”
Pence and Ducey will rally for her on Friday, the same day Trump will hold a rally for Lake.
Pence and Ducey’s decision to back Taylor Robson over Lake echoes a similar clash they created with Trump in Georgia’s GOP gubernatorial primary between incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and ex-Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), whom Trump recruited in his revenge-fueled bid to oust Kemp.
Pence, Ducey, and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), who co-chairs the RGA with the Arizona governor, traveled to Georgia to stump for Kemp ahead of the primary in May. Kemp ultimately steamrolled Perdue in the race.