Former Vice President Mike Pence waded into the race for Arizona’s next governor on Monday, delivering an endorsement in the GOP primary that once again puts him at odds with former President Donald Trump.
Karrin Taylor Robson’s campaign announced Pence’s endorsement on Monday morning. Pence is scheduled to campaign with Robson at several events on Friday, the same day Trump is expected to hold a rally for former TV news anchor Kari Lake. Trump endorsed Lake last year.
“As Arizona Democrats pursue the reckless Biden-Harris agenda, Karrin Taylor Robson is the only candidate for Governor that will keep Arizona’s border secure and streets safe, empower parents and create great schools, and promote conservative values,” Pence said in a statement sent out by Robson’s campaign. “Karrin is the best choice for Arizona’s future, and I am proud to support her.”
Robson has also secured the backing of Arizona’s sitting Republican governor, Doug Ducey. Ducey and Pence have pushed back against Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was decided by voter fraud in favor of President Joe Biden. Arizona was one of the hotbeds of the allegations in 2020 and early 2021, and some Republicans in the state continue to push investigations into the outcome of the 2020 election.
Neither Robson nor Ducey is in that camp. Ducey has rejected Trump’s suggestions that Arizona’s 2020 election was illegitimate. Robson has said that the 2020 election was not “fair” because censorship by big tech companies and pandemic election law changes favored Democrats, but has refused to embrace Trump’s claims of voter fraud.
Lake has asserted that the 2020 election was “corrupt and stolen” from Trump during a GOP primary debate in late June. Lake, a former Democrat and supporter of former President Barack Obama, was critical of Trump earlier in his presidency, but backed the former president against Biden in 2020 after resigning her post in local media over its “obvious bias” and “liberal ideology.”
Pence’s endorsement of Robson will serve to remind “Arizonans that the choice in this race is between President Trump, Kari Lake, and the America First movement versus Robson, Ducey, and the Arizona Swamp,” Lake’s campaign told The New York Times. “We are confident the America First team will be victorious.”
Pence’s endorsement is his latest collision with Trump in the run-up to the 2022 midterm elections. Pence has waded into other GOP primary fights to endorse candidates overlooked or spurned by Trump, such as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who easily won his party’s nomination for governor despite denunciations from Trump.
“Mike Pence has been a warrior for the conservative values we hold most dear: the sanctity of Life; limited government; law and order; opportunity for all; vigorous defense of the 2nd Amendment; and the knowledge that our freedoms are granted by God,” Robson said in a statement. “Modern politics is full of charlatans and fakes, but Vice President Pence is the genuine article. He has never wavered in his conservative beliefs and commitment to our Constitution, and left a rock-solid legacy as Governor to which I will aspire.”