Summer break is over. With fewer than 100 days until the general election, the final rounds of 2022 midterms primaries will come fast and furious over the next six weeks, beginning with a busy Tuesday featuring key contests around the country.
Here are some things to watch on Tuesday:
Arizona governor primary pits Trump against Pence
The race to replace term-limited Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, pits Ducey’s chosen candidate, Karrin Taylor Robson, against a Trump-endorsed former television journalist Kari Lake.
Lake has built her campaign around lies about election fraud. She referred to the refusal of her leading rival, Ducey-backed Robson, to indulge those lies as “disqualifying.”
Robson, meanwhile, is also backed by former Vice President Mike Pence, who visited Arizona to campaign with Robson and Ducey last month on the same day Trump held a rally at which Lake spoke.
Pence used his Arizona trip to urge the GOP to move past Trump’s lies about fraud in the 2020 election and look forward.
“When you get out and vote for Karrin Taylor Robson, you can send a deafening message that will be heard all across America that the Republican Party is the party of the future,” Pence said in Peoria, Arizona.
Arizona GOP could pick full slate of election deniers
Beyond the governor’s office, the Arizona GOP could be poised to nominate a statewide ticket of Trump-backed election deniers on Tuesday.
The race for secretary of state — Arizona’s chief elections officer — also features an election denier endorsed by former President Trump in Mark Finchem, a state lawmaker who wrongly claims that Trump on the 2020 election and was in Washington Jan. 6.
Trump-backed Blake Masters, who is seeking to face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, hasn’t just claimed that Democrats “pulled out all the stops” to cheat in 2020, but has suggested the 2022 midterms won’t be fair. Masters faces other Republicans who have rejected the 2020 election outcome, including businessman Jim Lamon, who touts his efforts to fund the bogus review of Maricopa County’s 2020 results. Another Senate candidate, state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, sent a letter claiming to have uncovered election fraud, without detailing any fraud in how the election was managed.
Trump’s chosen candidate in the race for attorney general, Abraham Hamadeh, said he would “take the fraud in our 2020 election seriously and bring justice to those who’ve undermined our Republic.”
Meijer faces Dem-backed, far-right challenge
Rep. Peter Meijer, the freshman Republican from western Michigan who was one of his party’s 10 House members to vote for Trump’s second impeachment, is facing off against a Trump-endorsed challenger in John Gibbs.
Gibbs has fully embraced Trump’s election lies. He wrongly claimed in a debate with Meijer that the results that led to Biden’s win in 2020 were “simply mathematically impossible” and said that there were “anomalies in there, to put it very lightly.”
What’s unique about the GOP contest in the Grand Rapids-based 3rd District is that Democrats have attempted to boost Gibbs with ads casting him as a Trump-aligned conservative.
It’s a calculated gamble for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has spent more than $300,000 on ads in the race: They believe Gibbs would be much easier to defeat in November, so they are attempting to elevate him Tuesday, and then turn and immediately cast him as a threat to democracy in the general election.
A pro-Meijer group launched a television ad over the weekend highlighting Democrats’ involvement in the Republican primary. “Fox News confirms it: Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect their hand-picked candidate for Congress in the Republican primary, John Gibbs,” the group’s ad warns. “West Michigan must say no to Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked candidate for Congress.”
Read what else to watch for here.