on opposite sides
Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence held competing rallies in Arizona on Friday, touting rival candidates in a gubernatorial primary that has become a major proxy fight in the battle for the GOP.
Pence is backing businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson, who also has the support of term-limited incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey (R). Pence told the crowd that, by electing Robson, they would signal that "the Republican Party is the party of the future." Later, Pence tweeted that "[s]ome people want this election to be about the past," presumably referring to Trump's stolen election claims. "If the Republican Party allows itself to become consumed by yesterday's grievances, we will lose," the former VP wrote.
The Associated Press notes that Robson has taken a moderate line on Trump's 2020 grievances. She's willing to blame liberal judges and big tech companies for tilting the election in Democrats' favor, but "has stopped short of saying Trump lost because of fraud."
Trump has endorsed former television anchor Kari Lake, who he said understands "how to fight back against the fake news media and the radical left." Lake is a vocal proponent of Trump's stolen election claims, even going so far as to call for the imprisonment of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), who oversaw the 2020 election in that state.
A poll conducted earlier this month by public affairs firm HighGround showed Lake leading Robson 39-35 — within the 4.9 percent error margin — with 21 percent of voters still undecided.