The Republican primary in Arizona on Tuesday tested former President Donald Trump’s influence over the future of the GOP and the durability of his stolen election lie.
Most contests in the presidential swing state, which gave President Joe Biden his narrowest margin in 2020, remained tied, according to NBC News early Wednesday morning. Voters in Michigan, Missouri, Washington and Kansas, meanwhile, have decided statewide marquee races as well as match-ups in the general election crucial to controlling Congress.
Leading candidates in Arizona’s GOP contests for Senate, Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General almost everywhere echoed Trump’s election conspiracies and earned his endorsement. In the gubernatorial primary, Kari Lake, a longtime local news anchor backed by Trump and a number of MAGA influencers, has called Biden “illegitimate,” slammed Republican Gov. Doug Ducey as “do nothing, Ducey,” and proposed , that she will not accept the result of her choice if her opponent should prevail.
Her opponent Karrin Taylor Robson, a real estate developer who worked in the Reagan White House and is backed by Ducey, former Vice President Mike Pence and other GOP officials, has called the 2020 election “unfair” but didn’t say it was stolen been and has refused to oblige to confirm the next presidential election. (Ducey, whose term is limited to one re-election, angered Trump when he endorsed Biden’s victory.)
As of 1:16 p.m. ET. Taylor Robson had a nearly 8-point lead over Lake with 63 percent of the expected votes counted, although that lead was expected to narrow as more ballots are counted on Election Day.
There is no evidence that the 2020 vote in Arizona or any other state did not reflect the will of voters. In Arizona, voting checks, including a partisan venture blessed by the GOP-led state senate, only confirmed Biden’s victory. Earlier this year, Arizona’s Republican Attorney General released a report finding no mass fraud in Maricopa County, on which Trump and his allies focused their efforts and allegations.
On Monday, GOP Attorney General Mark Brnovich said his office investigated claims that 282 dead voters cast ballots in Maricopa County and found that only one of those voters was actually dead at the time of the 2020 election. Those allegations emerged from the conspiracy-laden, partisan review of Maricopa County’s ballots, which was directed by the now-defunct Cyber Ninjas firm.
“Our agents investigated all individuals who had been reported dead by cyber ninjas, and many were very surprised to learn that they were allegedly deceased,” said Brnovich, who is running in the Senate primary. written in a letter to Senate Speaker Karen Fann, who signed off on the Cyber Ninjas’ unorthodox review.
On the Democrat side, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs won her party’s primary for governor, NBC News projected. As the state’s top election official, she has been the target of stolen election conspiracy theories and has been harassed and threatened for her work and defense of the state system in 2020.
Recent polls had revealed an extremely close race between Lake and Taylor Robson that was well within the margin of error. Polls found Lake leading among younger Republicans, while Taylor Robson fares better among older voters.
Both candidates focused intensely on the influx of migrants crossing the southern border.
“Ducey laid down like a doormat for the cartels,” Lake said at a rally in Tucson last month. “I’m tired of having a doormat running the show in Arizona.”
In an interview with NBC News after a campaign rally in Queen Creek in July, Taylor Robson predicted she would win because “Arizona is looking ahead” and Lake was “very focused in the rearview mirror and unfocused on the windshield.”
Taylor Robson compared Lake to Evan Mecham, a former Republican governor of Arizona who faced simultaneous impeachment, a recall election and a felony charge in the late 1980s.
Mecham’s tenure “created … years of trouble for the state of Arizona, our reputation and everything else,” she said. “And Kari Lake will be Evan Mecham on steroids. I believe she will be a disaster for this state.”
The conflict between Lake Taylor and Robson wasn’t the only one in the state to draw national attention. In the state GOP Senate primary, Trump’s nominee Blake Masters, a protégé of tech billionaire and Republican mega-spender Peter Thiel, appeared likely to outperform a field that also includes businessman Jim Lamon and Brnovich, though the race is still closed was early to announce it Wednesday morning.
The winner will face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly this fall.
Heading into Election Day in the battle for Secretary of State, State Assemblyman Mark Finchem, a close ally of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and an early advocate of electoral lies, appeared well-placed to claim victory. Ducey has backed his main rival, businessman Beau Lane, who has not said the last election was stolen.
Then there’s the Attorney General race, which pits Abe Hamadeh, a former Maricopa County prosecutor with Trump’s endorsement, against a large field of opponents. Hamadeh has reinforced Trump’s stolen election rhetoric.
Pro-democracy advocates have for months focused on Arizona’s races as crucial to the future of fair elections. Finchem, for example, co-sponsored a bill in the State House that would have given the legislature the power to overturn election results.
like sea, He also. has suggested He won’t accept the results if he loses.
There were several high-profile races elsewhere on Tuesday. Tudor Dixon, a former conservative commentator and actor, won Michigan’s Republican primary for governor. She benefited from chaos-causing stumbles by her rivals while also earning the support of powerful supporters like the family of former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, one of the most powerful in Michigan GOP politics — and eventually Trump’s endorsement last week.
Dixon, who now faces Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this fall, sent a field that included Kevin Rinke, a self-financing former auto dealer whose name is familiar to Detroit-area voters; Garrett Soldano, a chiropractor who gained a broad following on the right by protesting Whitmer’s Covid policies; and Ryan Kelley, a real estate agent who has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he was part of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters aimed at stopping certification of the 2020 election.
In Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt won a hard-fought Senate primary that also included disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens and Congressmen Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, NBC News projected. On Monday, Trump said in a statement that he supports “ERIC” and chooses not to choose between Schmitt and Greitens. (There was also a third Eric in the running — the little-known Eric McElroy.)
Meanwhile, a trio of House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last year faced the main voters — Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer and Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, both from Washington. Meijer lost his bid, NBC News projected early Wednesday morning. At the same time, it was still undecided whether Beutler or Newhouse would drive the general election under Washington state’s second-largest primary electoral system.
Democrats had few primaries to speak of Tuesday. In Michigan, NBC News predicted that Rep. Haley Stevens would defeat Rep. Andy Levin in an incumbent-incumbent primary in the Detroit suburbs, which was the result of a redistribution process that drew them into the same borders. And in Missouri, NBC News predicted that Anheuser-Busch heiress Trudy Busch Valentine would defeat self-proclaimed “populist” Lucas Kunce and others for the state’s Democratic Senate nomination.
In Kansas, voters chose not to remove language protecting abortion rights from the state’s constitution as part of a voting referendum that would have given the GOP-controlled Legislature the power to decide the matter.
About 60 percent of voters cast “no” ballots, while about 40 percent supported “yes,” according to vote counts as of 12:47 a.m. ET Wednesday morning. In some Kansas counties that Trump overwhelmingly won, a clear majority of voters chose not to remove the language protecting abortion rights from the state constitution.
The vote could have significant ramifications ahead of the fall election, as it marks the first time since Roe v. Wade through the Supreme Court was that US voters cast their ballot on the abortion rights issue.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2022-election/primaries-key-swing-states-test-enduring-appeal-trumps-false-2020-clai-rcna40643 Primary elections in key swing states test Trump’s influence and endure false 2020 claims