Many eyes are on Arizona's open seats in Tuesday's primary
PHOENIX — Arizona's primary election is defined by open races for several statewide positions, and the election-denying candidates running to assume those roles in 2023.
There are no incumbents running for three key statewide offices – governor, attorney general and secretary of state – the top election gig in Arizona. Former President Donald Trump has exerted his influence over crowded fields of candidates, many of whom continue to baselessly assert the 2020 election, which Trump lost in Arizona and nationwide, was stolen.
That includes Trump-endorsed candidates like former local news anchor Kari Lake, who's running for governor; state Rep. Mark Finchem, who's running for secretary of state; and Abe Hamadeh, who's running for attorney general.
In fact, Lake has already taken a page out of the Trump playbook and claimed the current election is rigged against her. She's repeatedly refused to present evidence to back her claims when confronted by reporters.
Lake's closest competition is a wealthy developer, Karrin Taylor Robson, who's backed by the conservative establishment both in Arizona and nationally. Current Gov. Doug Ducey has endorsed her, as has former Vice President Mike Pence.
Taylor Robson has spent millions of dollars to brand herself as a more reasonable-sounding Republican, though her policies don't often differ from Lake. Both have similar talking points when it comes to border security and so-called critical race theory. And Taylor Robson has done little to dispel concerns about the 2020 election while she criticizes Lake for casting doubt on the current vote.
Elsewhere, a crowded field of Republicans, led by Trump endorsee and former venture capitalist Blake Masters, are vying for the right to run against Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in November. Kelly's win in 2020 gave Democrats control of both Arizona's U.S. Senate seats, and national Republican leaders have viewed the state as a potential rebound ever since.
Races further down the ballot will also set the stage for competitive congressional seats up for grabs in November. Redistricting made two key districts currently occupied by Democrats more conservative, giving Republicans a chance to pick up key U.S. House seats in a state Democrats now control 5-4.
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