Former Vice President Mike Pence has announced his endorsement of Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson in the race against former President Donald Trump's pick in the race, Kari Lake, showing more division between the two former administration leaders.
Both Trump and Pence, who are expected to run separate campaigns for the White House in 2024, will be in Arizona on Friday to campaign for their respective candidates, who will square off for the party nominations in the state's Aug. 2 primary election, reports The Washington Post.
Pence lauded Taylor Robson, in a statement to The Post, as "the best choice for Arizona's future."
"As Arizona Democrats pursue the reckless Biden-Harris agenda, Karrin Taylor Robson is the only candidate for governor that will keep Arizona's border secure and streets safe, empower parents and create great schools, and promote conservative values," Pence said.
Taylor Robson, meanwhile, returned the praise, telling The Post in a statement that "modern politics is full of charlatans and fakes, but Vice President Pence is the genuine article."
"He has never wavered in his conservative beliefs and commitment to our Constitution, and left a rock-solid legacy as governor to which I will aspire," she added.
GOP candidates Scott Neely and Paola Tulliani Zen also are vying for the Arizona nomination.
The race in Arizona may at first seem to echo the Georgia race, where Pence-backed Gov. Brian Kemp defeated Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue for the primary win by a landslide.
However, the race in Arizona is being seen as a more tight contest, even though Taylor Robson is backed by outgoing Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who angered Trump after affirming President Joe Biden's win.
Lake and Taylor Robson, meanwhile, carry similar views on immigration and the economy, but differ on the 2020 race.
Lake says she refuses to stop talking about the 2020 race and says thousands of fake votes had been cast, so "we want people to be arrested, prosecuted, and thrown in jail."
She also said in a televised debate in June that Biden lost and "he shouldn't be in the White House" and that she would not have certified her state's election results.
Taylor Robson wouldn't say the election was fraudulent, but she did say it was "absolutely not fair." She voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020 and raised $1.3 million in his campaigns.
However, she insists that she is focused on her 2022 race, as "the left is 10 steps ahead of us, and I don't have the time to explain what they're doing."
A Lake spokesperson also recently slammed Taylor Robson's supporters as RINOs, or Republicans in Name Only.
On Friday, Pence will visit the border along with Taylor Robson and National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd, who has also endorsed her. The former vice president will also be in Phoenix.
Trump will hold a rally in northern Arizona on Friday to campaign for Lake and other endorsed candidates. The rally was rescheduled from this past Saturday after the death of his ex-wife, Ivana Trump.
An adviser for Pence said he considers Taylor Robson as "the most conservative candidate in the race" and had been considering an endorsement before Ducey announced his backing on July 7.
Lake has also hit out at Pence after he visited the border in Arizona, telling Newsmax that she does not think he has a "snowball's chance in Phoenix to win" a race for president in 2024 and that people are "disappointed" that he helped certify the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021.
Early voting is already underway in Arizona, and Pence's endorsement is being seen as one that could sway moderate Republicans and independent voters. He also remains popular with Christian conservatives.
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