Republican 'doomsday ticket' ready for November- POLITICO

Republican ‘doomsday ticket’ ready for November- POLITICO

LURCHING RIGHT — Even before Donald Trump, Arizona Republicans had a soft spot for hard-liners. Think Evan Mecham and Joe Arpaio, or the party’s pre-Trump censorship of the late Sen. John McCain.

But what may soon be different after Tuesday’s elections is that with Kari Lake poised to win the gubernatorial primary alongside a stable of fellow election conspiracy theorists, there is no longer any traditionalist wing of the Republican Party in Arizona holding the line.

Not McCain or Doug Ducey, the outgoing Republican governor who went in for Lake’s more establishment-minded opponent, Karrin Taylor Robson. Not former Vice President Mike Pence, whose own trip to the state to help Robson — and oppose Trump — fell flat.

In some states where Trump’s endorsed candidates have lost primaries this year, including in Georgia, Nebraska and Idaho, institutionalists held on. But in one of the most critical swing states in the country — and in a place where Trump’s brand may be especially damaging in the general election and in 2024 — the old Republican establishment has been replaced with election deniers from the top to the bottom of the statewide ticket.

“I will call in a bit to talk about the doomsday ticket,” Barrett Marson, a Republican political strategist in the state, said today, when Nightly reached out to him to talk about the results. “Let me wake up and finish crying.”

A prominent Republican in the state had texted him a GIF of Thelma and Louise driving off the cliff.

Marson’s concerns are shared by mainstream Republicans in other states. But Arizona has an especially toxic relationship with Trump. The GOP during his tenure de el lost two Senate seats and a presidential election in the state for the first time since 1996. Trump-ism, as was painfully obvious to the GOP in Arizona in 2020, is a hard sell in Phoenix and its heavily populated suburbs.

Yet if Trump-y politics are difficult for the GOP in Arizona, that’s about all the state party has going now.

As of this evening, Lake, a former TV anchor who has said she would not have certified the 2020 election, had pulled ahead in the gubernatorial race. If her lead de ella holds, as Republicans in Arizona expect, she will now be the party’s standard bearer.

Then there’s state Rep. Mark Finchem, a celebrity in election conspiracy circles, who won his primary for secretary of state. Republican speaker of Arizona’s House Rusty Bowers, who was censored by the state Republican Party for testifying to the Jan. 6 committee about Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, got shellacked by a Trump-backed challenger who thinks the devil was at work in the 2020 outcome.

In the primary for state attorney general, Trump-endorsed Abe Hamadeh, another election denier — and a critic of “weak-kneed Republicans” — prevailed. And in the US Senate primary, Blake Masters, who maintains Trump won in 2020also won.