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Trump’s Endorsement Seen As Putting AZ Republican Kari Lake Over the Top

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Former President Donald Trump’s political endorsements continue to be seen as highly coveted and valuable as the GOP primary season reaches its pinnacle this month.

Out of more than 100 endorsements he has made thus far, the vast majority of his chosen candidates have gone on to win their primaries, though many are facing tough competition from their Democratic opponents as the November midterm elections edge closer.

Still, nowhere is Trump’s backing been as impactful in recent weeks as in Arizona, where he has backed MAGA-supporting gubernatorial candidate and former Phoenix-area newscaster Kari Lake, pitting her against another Republican who has been backed by outgoing GOP Gov. Doug Ducey and former Vice President Mike Pence.

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Newsweek reports: “The primary will serve as another┬átest of Trump’s influence in the Republican Party,” adding that heading into to Tuesday’s contest, Lake is polling in single digits but well above the Ducey-Pence-backed Karrin Taylor Robson.

The outlet continued:

Polls in the days leading up to the election generally show Lake holding a single-digit lead. A composite of all polling calculated by Real Clear Politics points to a victory for Lake, who leads Robson by an average of 8.7 points in the race to replace outgoing GOP Governor Doug Ducey.

A Trafalgar poll conducted from July 25 to 27 of likely Republican primary voters found that Lake held an 8.8-point lead. She won 47.6 percent of support from the poll’s respondents, while Robson earned 38.8 percent.

A Rasmussen poll conducted from July 27 to 28 found a similar result. It had Lake winning 43 percent of the vote, compared to Robson’s 34 percent. An OH Predictive Insight poll conducted July 27 showed Lake with an 18-point lead, though no other recent polls show Lake with such a large lead.

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Other surveys, Newsweek noted, show a much closer contest. For instance, an Emerson College survey conducted from July 28 to July 30 found that Robson actually led by a single point, 47-46 percent. When undecided voters who revealed the candidate they leaned toward were factored in, Robson still came out on top 49-48 percent.

In a statement to Newsweek, a spokesperson for Lake said the campaign feels “very confident that the polling shows us with a strong lead going into Election Day.”

“Kari has connected with the voters all across Arizona and has won over the hearts and minds of the grassroots for over a year now,” the statement added. “Despite being outspent 15-1, our opponents’ attacks are falling flat, and we will be victorious tomorrow.”

Whoever wins the GOP primary on Tuesday will most likely face Democratic Arizona Secretary of Democrat Katie Hobbs, who is practically a shoo-in to win her party’s nomination, Newsweek said, adding that the November contest in the battleground state should be close.

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“The Cook Political Report, an organization that tracks elections across the country, considers the November race to be a toss-up,” Newsweek noted.

Trump’s endorsements have given other candidates the competitive edge to win their primaries earlier this summer, including J.D. Vance, the “Hillbilly Elegy” author running for a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, and TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Both of those races are also expected to be competitive; both are also battleground states.

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But other Trump endorsements have fallen flat. In Georgia, for instance, he backed former U.S. Sen. David Perdue in his bid to unseat incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump blamed for not acting in response to vote fraud allegations following the 2020 election. Kemp, who now faces Democratic rival Stacey Abrams in a rematch of 2018, handily beat Perdue.

That race was also seen as a Trump-Pence proxy battle, as Pence backed Kemp.

But Trump has also backed former NFL star and Heisman trophy winner Hershel Walker, who won the GOP primary in Georgia to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock who, along with fellow Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, turned both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats blue for the first time in decades in 2020.

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