Kari Lake, a former news anchor who says she doesn't believe President Biden is the legitimate president, was declared winner of Arizona's Republican gubernatorial primary on Thursday. She narrowly defeated lawyer and land developer Karrin Taylor Robson, the candidate endorsed by outgoing Gov. Doug Ducey (R), former Vice President Mike Pence, and other mainstream Republicans. Former President Donald Trump, MyPillow's Mike Lindell, and former national security adviser Mike Flynn had campaigned for Lake.
Lake will face Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who won the Democratic gubernatorial primary, in November. "This race for governor isn't about Democrats or Republicans," Hobbs said Thursday night. "It's a choice between sanity and chaos."
Lake's victory completed a clean sweep of Arizona's Republican primaries by election deniers endorsed by Trump. GOP Senate nominee Blake Masters ran an ad saying "I think Trump won." State Rep. Mark Finchem, who won the primary for secretary of state, was outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2001, and says he would still decertify Biden's victory. Election denier Abe Hamadeh is the GOP pick for state attorney general. And Rusty Bowers, the Arizona House speaker who testified before the Jan. 6 committee, was unseated by a Trump-endorsed challenger.
Lake has said if elected, she will seek to replace mechanical vote tabulators with hand-counting of ballots and end mail-in and early voting, holding one-day elections. She warned her own primary race could be marred by vote fraud, but when her victory was assured she told reporters, "We out-voted the fraud."
"In some states where Trump's endorsed candidates have lost primaries this year, including in Georgia, Nebraska, and Idaho, institutionalists held on," David Siders writes at Politico. "But in one of the most critical swing states in the country — and in a place where Trump's brand may be especially damaging in the general election and in 2024 — the old Republican establishment has been replaced with election deniers from the top to the bottom of the statewide ticket."
Arizona GOP strategist Barrett Marson called it "the doomsday ticket." Republican Maricopa County supervisor Bill Gates told Politico he would like to see the entire GOP slate suffer "humiliation at the ballot box," but "the problem is the Democrats aren't strong enough to do that." Tuesday's election "was a catastrophe for the Arizona Republican Party," he added, "and, I would argue, our democracy."