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Many of Arizona’s primary races remained too close to call Wednesday morning.
WATCH: Far-right supporters of Trump’s election lies vie for office in Arizona
But former President Donald Trump loomed large in Arizona’s Republican primaries on Tuesday. The former president endorsed and campaigned for a slate of contenders who support his falsehoods.
Trump-backed Blake Masters won the Arizona GOP Senate race. He is a 35-year-old first-time candidate who has spent most of his career working for billionaire Peter Thiel, who is bankrolling his campaign. Masters emphasized cultural grievances that animate the right, including critical race theory and allegations of big tech censorship.
Until Trump’s endorsement, the race had no clear front-runner among Masters, businessman Jim Lamon and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, all of whom jockeyed for his support.
In the governor’s race, Trump has backed former television news anchor Kari Lake, who has said that she would not have certified Arizona’s election results in 2020. Lake faces businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson, who is endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence and outgoing Gov. Doug Ducey. That race remained too close to call.
On the Democratic side, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs defeated Marco Lopez, a former mayor of Nogales and border enforcement official during Obama’s administration.
As Arizona’s top elections official, Hobbs endeared herself to Democrats with an impassioned defense of the integrity of the 2020 election, a stance that has drawn death threats. However, she’s been weighed down by a discrimination case won by a Black policy adviser from Hobbs’ time in the Legislature.
Mark Finchem, a state representative who embraces election conspiracy theories and whom Trump endorsed, beat out three other GOP candidates in the race for secretary of state. His challengers included another candidate who repeated Trump’s false claims that he lost the 2020 presidential election because of fraud, a longtime state lawmaker and a businessman endorsed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.
Democrats and election security advocates warned that a victory for Finchem in the November general election will be dangerous for democracy.
Finchem, who attended Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, rally that preceded the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, has said he only intends to ensure that election laws are followed to address concerns by many Republicans about how elections are run. Still, he tried to get the Legislature to overturn the 2020 election results and has spoken about making major changes to election rules that are written by the secretary.
Finchem tried this year to get the Republican-controlled Legislature to notify Congress that Arizona wanted to decertify Democrat Joe Biden’s election win. He won Trump’s endorsement and said in a recent interview that worries about the effect of his potential victory on free and fair elections are unfounded. He said he will just enforce laws as written.
And in a state Senate race, Republican Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers lost his bid for a state Senate seat after refusing then-President Donald Trump’s pleas to help overturn the 2020 election results and testifying before Congress about the efforts.
Bowers tried to move to the state Senate because of term limits. He lost to former state Sen. David Farnsworth, who criticized him for refusing to help Trump or go along with a contentious 2021 “audit” that Republican leaders in the Senate commissioned.
Farnsworth automatically will win the Senate seat because no Democrat is running in the heavily Republican district.
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