The Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) issued a statement this recently thanking Karrin Taylor Robson for contributing money to Democrats in recent years while a Republican.
“The Arizona Democratic Party would like to extend a warm ‘thank you’ to Karrin Taylor Robson for her longtime financial support to help elect Democratic candidates up and down the ballot,” said the press release. The ADP said Robson is “a big funder of Arizona Democrats, funneling thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates as recently as 2020.”
Local reporter Jeremy Duda warned in a tweet about the strategy, “Whoever wins the GOP primary will go into the general election as the favorite, so this could be a ‘be careful what you wish for’ situation for the Dems.”
The only gubernatorial poll showing Hobbs losing in the general was to Kari Lake, not Robson. That poll, taken in February by Data Orbital, showed Lake beating Hobbs 43 to 41 percent.
Looks like the @azdemparty is trying to give @KariLake some help against @Karrin4Arizona. Whoever wins the GOP primary will go into the general election as the favorite, so this could be a “be careful what you wish for” situation for the Dems. pic.twitter.com/ENohDYBBaC
— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) July 11, 2022
However, Robson’s spokesman Matthew Benson said she believes Robson is the stronger candidate to face Hobbs. “The Democrats aren’t dumb — they’ve seen the polling and know Karrin Taylor Robson’s conservative record and broad coalition will be unbeatable in the general election,” he told the Washington Examiner.
Josselyn Berry, a spokesperson for the ADP, added a note at the end of the statement. “As the Republican primary for governor continues to stir toxic infighting, the Arizona Democratic Party will always be grateful for Robson’s longtime support in helping elect Democrats up and down the ballot, including this November,” she said.
The press release noted that “Robson contributed to Democrats over Republicans in Phoenix city council and mayoral races by nearly a two-to-one margin.” ADP cited an article from the Phoenix Business Journal which reported that Robson held a post-election fundraiser for Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-07.) and fundraised for Representative Greg Stanton (D-AZ-09), former Phoenix City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, and the late Representative Ed Pastor (D-AZ-04).
The ADP included a tweet from Gallego, who has a rating of 4 out of 100 from the American Conservative Union. “Robson was one of my biggest bundlers sorry to see her go this way. Will have to look for our photos together,” he tweeted in January.
Gallego referenced her support again on June 8, tweeting, “She didn’t just donate she bundled for me a couple of times!! That being said all things being equal I can work with Robson.”
My best donor. https://t.co/sA17AzWG8t
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) June 9, 2022
He became a little more negative about Robson’s mixed record a month later. On July 8, he tweeted, “She also used to talk sh** about the ‘crazies’ in the Republican Party. Assuming she meant conservatives. Hypocrisy in both parties is disgusting.”
The press release called Robson a “hypocrite” for attacking Lake over one $350 contribution she made to Barack Obama in 2008. Lake was a Democrat at the time and working as a news anchor.
Arizona is not the only state seeing Democrats meddling in Republican primaries this year. In Pennsylvania, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro launched a campaign ad to boost conservative Trump-endorsed Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Quincy), who is also running for governor. In Colorado, a new Democratic-backed super PAC spent $1.5 million on ads boosting conservative Colorado State Representative Ron Hanks (R-Fairplay) in the U.S. Senate primary. Billionaire Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker funneled an estimated $36 million through the Democratic Governors’ Association into conservative State Senator Darren Bailey (R-Olney)’s campaign for governor and Thomas DeVore’s campaign for attorney general.
Lake is still beating Robson in recent primary polls by several points. The Democrats have coalesced around Hobbs as their candidate, with Marco Lopez unable to get more than a quarter of the support Hobbs has received from people.
The Arizona Sun Times asked the Robson campaign for an explanation why she donated and bundled money for Democrats, and whether she renounced those donations now, but did not receive a response by press time.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Karrin Taylor Robson” by Karrin Taylor Robson. Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Wars. CC BY-SA 3.0.