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President Donald Trump’s endorsements appear to have paid off for Arizona candidates

Donald Trump Country Thunder
Former President Donald Trump addresses supporters at a rally during Country Thunder in Florence, Arizona, in January 2022.

Former President Donald Trump’s endorsements in Arizona appear to have paid off.

A slate of election-denying candidates took early leads in the polls on Tuesday evening in GOP primaries for everything from the U.S. Senate to secretary of state. As of Wednesday afternoon, some have been declared the winner of their respective races, while others still hold onto leads.

Kari Lake and Blake Masters
Kari Lake and Blake Masters at a rally during Country Thunder in Florence, Arizona, in January 2022.

Former venture capitalist Blake Masters emerged victorious from a crowded field of Republicans vying for the chance to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly in November.

Paul Gosa
Paul Gosar speaking with attendees at an event hosted by the Defend America Foundation at the Scottsdale Gun Club in Scottsdale in September 2021.

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar easily fended off a handful of GOP challengers trying to unseat the controversial lawmaker.

Election-denying state Rep. Mark Finchem was declared the winner in the GOP primary for secretary of state, the race to become the next top election official in Arizona.

Political newcomer Abraham Hamadeh rode Trump’s endorsement to a win in a six-way race to be the GOP’s nominee for Arizona attorney general.

The lone outlier was Kari Lake, whom Trump endorsed for governor nearly a year ago. Early returns showed Lake trailing developer Karrin Taylor Robson on Tuesday night, but by Wednesday morning, Lake had seized control of the race with a nearly 2% lead in the polls, or roughly 11,000 votes.

Based on the ballots left to count, is a lead Lake is expected to maintain, though the race is still too close to call.

All that winning made for a positive night for Trump, who faced challenges from old friends and allies like former Vice President Mike Pence and current Gov. Doug Ducey — both of whom endorsed Taylor Robson and were critical of Lake.
While Trump’s candidates routinely spent their campaigns crying foul, without evidence, that the 2020 election was stolen, Ducey made it a point to support Republicans who are looking past the past — like businessman Beau Lane, who’s running for secretary of state.

But the support of establishment Republicans in Arizona appears to have its limits. And if Lake’s lead holds, it could be a clean sweep for Trump-endorsed candidates in Arizona, a state plagued by election conspiracies since his loss in 2020.

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Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.