Arizona Primary Update: All The Worst People Won!
This is one of those days when you wake up to discover that Kari Lake is leading in the Republican primary for Arizona governor. I hadn’t even had my coffee yet. Last night, Lake was trailing normal, terrible Republican Karrin Taylor Robson by almost 10 points. Now, she’s ahead by 11,324 votes or roughly 1.8 points. Although Cook Political Editor Dave Wasserman hasn’t officially seen enough, he also doesn’t see much of a path for Robson.
I dared hope we’d seen the last of this drag-queen-smearing crackpot, but Lake, who’s baselessly attacked mail-in voting, dominated the Election Day vote. The advantage of shouting fraud in crowded elections is that when you win anyway, you can act like you slayed a dragon, which also doesn’t exist.
Putting aside her general contempt for democracy, Lake is a former TV news anchor who has never held political office. Running a state is slightly more complicated than throwing to the weather. She’ll face democracy-defending Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who won the Democratic nomination for governor. Hobbs received death threats from Donald Trump’s thugs after he lost the Arizona presidential election. Lake is overtly pro-coup and has said she wouldn’t have certified Joe Biden’s victory like outgoing Republican Gov. Doug Ducey did. He’s not a RINO or anything. He’s just not a lawless despot.
Hobbs has already dropped her first ad against Lake.
\u201c@KariLake @Karrin4Arizona WATCH: In our first ad, Lake\u2019s radical plans for AZ are on display, including her devastating views on forced pregnancies for rape & incest victims, & plans to spy on children in classrooms \u2013 stances that make Lake so extreme even Republicans attack her.\u201d— Katie Hobbs (@Katie Hobbs) 1659471832
Some Democrats might believe Lake is easier to defeat because she’s so overtly bananapants, but I agree with Bulwark’s Tim Miller that it’s a "nightmare scenario” when the GOP nominee in two key swing states — Pennsylvania and now Arizona — are "avowed, radical insurrectionists.”
And it gets worse: Election-denying conspiracy theorist Mark Finchem is the Republican nominee for secretary of state, which is alarming as hell. The Arizona state representative is a self-described “Oath Keeper” who was part of the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6. He tweeted that the insurrection was “what happens when the people feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.”
Before entering Arizona politics, Finchem was a police officer and firefighter from Kalamazoo, Michigan, where his personnel file states: "Retired, poor rating, would not rehire.” He’s a QAnon supporter and considers the COVID-19 vaccine "potentially deadly gene therapy” that’s a “crime against humanity." Now, he’s one election away from running the entire state’s elections. We can safely assume that if he wins, it won’t matter how Joe Biden or any Democratic candidate actually performs in 2024. He’ll cry fraud and refuse to certify any state, local, or federal election unless Trump-approved Republicans win.
Democratic state Rep. Reginald Bolding’s own race for the secretary of state nomination was too close to call, but he was clear about the stakes: "The fate of democracy not only in the state of Arizona but also in this country really rests on the secretary of state’s office. I think the implications of a Finchem win would be terrifying for this country.”
Trump had his revenge against Arizona House Speaker Russell "Rusty” Bowers, who provided damning testimony to the January committee about Trump’s coup plotting. Former state lawmaker David Farnsworth, whom Trump endorsed after Bowers appeared before the committee, easily defeated Bowers with 64 percent of the vote when the AP called the race.
Peter Thiel-produced candidate Blake Masters won the Republican nomination for US Senate. This is no surprise, but we’re still not thrilled. He’ll attempt to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly, and unfortunately, the race is considered a toss-up.
Oh, and Republican Rep. David Schweikert won his primary despite having admitted to multiple ethics violations and rules breaches. The bipartisan House Ethics Committee fined him $50,000 in 2020, and his campaign agreed to pay a $125,000 fine in January to the Federal Election Commission for campaign finance violations.
During his re-election campaign, Schweikert was sued for sending out mailers implying his opponent Elijah Norton was gay. No, really.
\u201c#AZ01 (R): Rep. David Schweikert leads wealthy primary foe Elijah Norton 44-34 with 74% of estimated vote in. Schweikert sent out mailers suggesting Northon was gay. https://t.co/r9Hb4t0Liu\u201d— Daily Kos Elections (@Daily Kos Elections) 1659495216
That's Arizona, Jake. I’m gonna go rest my head.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."