Trump-Backed Primary Candidates Score in Arizona and Michigan, Fall in Washington

Posted 6 days ago


Former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the America First Policy Institute Agenda Summit in Washington on July 26, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the America First Policy Institute Agenda Summit in Washington on July 26, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Former president Donald Trump’s endorsees were on ballots in five Aug. 2 Republican primaries, scoring wins in Arizona and Michigan, dual defeats in Washington state, and a draw, of sorts, in Missouri.

For those keeping score at home, according to a Ballotpedia analysis of the 2022 primary cycle through Aug. 2, 12 of 15 Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidates have won Republican primaries with four pending; 99 of 104 U. S. House Trump endorsees have advanced with more than 20 pending; 15 of 16 U.S. Senate candidates with his nod have advanced with four pending.

The vast majority are incumbents who faced no or nominal primary challenges.

Of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, four have retired, three survived primary challenges by Trump-backed candidates, two lost their seats to America First inter-party rivals, and one—Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)—awaits her fate in Wyoming’s Aug. 16 Republican primary.

Looking ahead, Trump has made several notable endorsements in Wisconsin’s Aug. 9 GOP primaries, including Tim Michels for governor, incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), and Derrick van Orden in the Republican primary for the state’s Congressional District 3.

Trump has also issued several prominent endorsements in Aug. 16 primaries.

Most notably: Kelly Tshibaka in her Alaska campaign against moderate three-term incumbent Sen. Lisa  Murkowski (R-Alaska), and the long-anticipated showdown in Wyoming’s GOP congressional district primary between Harriet Hageman and Cheney, co-chair of the House Jan. 6 investigation committee and an avowed, vocal antagonizer of the former president.

Here is a roundup of how key Trump-endorsed candidates fared in the Aug. 2 primaries:

State Rep. Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) defeated his closest rival Beau Lane, scoring 38 percent of the vote. Lane received 26 percent with two other hopefuls drawing at least 16 percent in a crowded field.

Finchem has made election integrity a cornerstone of his campaign following the disputed 2020 election and forensic audit in Maricopa County.

“At the end of the day, I stand for the rule of law, that nobody has their thumb on the scale of election integrity and election justice,” Finchem told The Epoch Times.

“Mark was willing to say what few others had the courage to say,” Trump said, complimenting his “incredibly powerful stance on the massive voter fraud.”

Finchem will face former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, a Democrat, in the general election on Nov. 8. Fontes defeated Reginald Bolding 53–47 percent, to win his party’s nomination.

Trump-endorsed tech entrepreneur Blake Masters blew past four other Republicans in the Arizona U. S. Senate Republican primary. In the Nov. 8 general election he will face Democrat incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly, who did not face a primary challenger.

Masters received $15 million in campaign support from venture capitalist and longtime employer Peter Thiel and secured Trump’s endorsement in May. “He’s strong on everything needed to keep Arizona first,” Trump said in a Masters ad that ran in July. “Mark Brnovich and Jim Lamon, on the other hand, will only let you down.”

In the last two days before the election, Trump surrogates campaigned for Masters. Stumping for him in Tucson and Phoenix were Ric Grenell, former director of national intelligence under Trump, and Kash Patel, chief of staff to the Trump Administration’s Secretary of Defense.

Masters has said he believes Trump won the 2020 election that put President Joe Biden in the White House. That set him up in stark contrast to the early favorite in the race, Arizona attorney general Mark Brnovich.

With about 88 percent of the votes counted, Kari Lake had pulled ahead of Karrin Taylor Robson in a five-way battle for the Republican nomination for governor. Lake held the lead with 46.2 percent of the vote. Robson, a real estate developer and Arizona Board of Regents, trailed at 44.4 percent.

The high-profile race pitted Trump-backed Lake versus Robson, who was endorsed by former vice president Mike Pence, and eight past and present Republican governors, most notably former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Lake, a former Fox10 anchor, quickly gained momentum in the polls when Trump endorsed her in June. On July 22, he appeared at a “Save America” rally in Prescott Valley to support Lake. She characterized Robson as an “Establishment RINO” aligned with Arizona Democrats and establishment Republicans.

“I’m up against a billionaire—actually, her husband’s a billionaire,” Lake said at a Tucson campaign rally. “She’s spending more money than ever in a statewide race in the history of this country to try to defeat us. We’re not going to let her win. Arizona is not for sale and can’t be purchased. We’re going to send them a message.”

Robson portrayed Lake as an unknown quantity: an Obama Democrat turned Trump Republican only when she decided to run for office.

If she hangs on, Lake will face Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s current secretary of state, in November’s general election. Hobbs won the Democratic gubernatorial primary in a landslide.

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who delivered testimony to the House J6 panel, lost his GOP primary bid to Trump-backed state Sen. David Farnsworth by more than 20 percentage points in a resounding rout.

Bowers has been censured by the Arizona Republican Party for “[demonstrating] he is unfit to serve the platform of the Republican Party of Arizona” and is going against “the will of the voter of the Republican Party in Arizona.” The state GOP called on voters to “expel him permanently from office” during the contest.

Trump criticized Bowers a day before the primary and called on voters to oust him. “Remember Arizona, your so-called ‘Speaker,’ Rusty [an appropriate name because he is Rusty, just like steel gets rusty and weak] Bowers, is absolutely terrible,” he wrote on Truth Social.

In testimony in June before the House committee, Bowers claimed that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani had no evidence for election fraud after the November 2020 election.

Farnsworth said Bowers is not conservative enough and has become less so since becoming House speaker following the 2018 state elections.

“Of course, the big issue, I think, for everybody is the fact that I strongly believe that there was fraud in the 2020 election,” Farnsworth told AP last week. “And I feel like Rusty failed … to take responsibility as speaker of the House and look into that election.”... (Read more)

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