The Arizona primary election is less than two weeks away and large numbers of undecided voters contribute to wavering poll numbers. However, a new poll by Gateway Pundit/Cygnal of likely Republican primary voters conducted on July 12 and 13 on the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial GOP primary races shows the Trump-endorsed candidates, Kari Lake for governor and Blake Masters for U.S. Senate, leading by double digits.
Longtime Washington D.C. political consultant Ralph Benko, who also has a home in Phoenix, told The Arizona Sun Times, “I’ve seen races very similar to this U.S. Senate race before, and I think Masters has peaked too early. The one to watch in this race who will surge at the end is businessman Jim Lamon due to his money.”
Benko added, “As for the gubernatorial race, we all didn’t think Trump’s endorsement would make a huge difference where I live in Maryland, but even in that less red state it carried Dan Cox to an easy win over Kelly Schulz in the gubernatorial race.”
Lake, who is running as a “Trump Republican,” has an 11.7-point lead in the gubernatorial race over Karrin Taylor Robson, the other top-tier candidate in the race, viewed by many as more moderate Republican.
Masters, who self-identifies as “America First” and received Trump’s endorsement late in the race, has a 10.3 percentage point lead over the next closest competitor, Jim Lamon, with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, the third main candidate in the race, a couple of points behind.
While the poll found that 14.2 percent of voters are undecided in the gubernatorial primary, a substantial 25.3 percent of voters are undecided in the U.S. Senate primary.
Lake has consistently polled in first place during the GOP primary, polling higher than all of her opponents combined for much of the race.
Robson got a bump when former Rep. Matt Salmon dropped out of the race and urged his supporters to move to Robson. A poll conducted by Ohio Predictive Insights immediately after Salmon dropped out found that 80 percent of Salmon voters moved to Robson.
Polls of the primary candidates against the Democrat show that in the U.S. Senate race, Brnovich has the best chance of beating Sen. Mark Kelly, coming as close as two points apart – even better than a hypothetical matchup between Kelly and Gov. Doug Ducey (who decided not to run). The most recent polls show Masters losing to Kelly by nine points and Lamon losing to Kelly by six points.
Polls of the gubernatorial race pitting the Republican candidates against the all-but-certain Democratic nominee, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, show Lake is the only Republican who can beat Hobbs; a Data Orbital poll from February had her up one point over Hobbs. However, the polls have varied widely since February.
The candidates endorsed by Trump across the country have a mixed record at winning their primaries so far this year. Trump tends to pick candidates that have a good chance of winning, and if some appear to be flailing, he will withdraw his endorsement, as he did with Mo Brooks in the Alabama Senate race (who lost).
Three of his gubernatorial endorsements have lost so far in 2022. In Georgia, former Sen. David Perdue lost to incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp. In Idaho, Lieutenant Gov. Janice McGeachin lost to Gov. Brad Little. Both of those races involved taking on an incumbent, which is difficult. And in Nebraska, Charles Herbster, plagued by a sexual assault scandal, lost to Jim Pillen.
Trump-endorsed candidates for Congress are faring better this year, although some of his choices were celebrity candidates and didn’t always resonate with the conservative base, such as Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. Rep. Madison Cawthorn lost his re-election primary race to challenger Chuck Edwards in North Carolina, in part due to Republicans deserting him in the weeks leading up to the election and undergoing a House Ethics Committee investigation.
Democrats are increasingly getting involved in Republican primary races. As the frontrunner in the race for the nomination, Masters is under heavy scrutiny by mainstream media outlets like New York Magazine, who called him a “protofascist” and “Nazi-adjacent.”
Meanwhile, the Arizona Democratic Party issued “a warm thank you” to Robson for contributing money to Democrats, implying they want Republicans to vote instead for Lake since they believe Lake will be easier to defeat in the general election than Robson. However, 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.”
Other Arizona candidates Trump has endorsed include State Rep. Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) for Secretary of State, Abraham Hamadeh for attorney general, former state legislator Anthony Kern who is running again, and former state legislator David Farnsworth, who is running against Rusty Bowers, the current Speaker of the House who is term-limited and is thus running for state senate.
The Arizona Secretary of State’s office notes that the deadline to register to vote in the 2022 election cycle was July 6 and early voting is underway now. The last day to request an absentee ballot is July 22. Primary election day is Tuesday, August 2nd.
– – –
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 “Kari Lake,” “Blake Masters,” and Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.