Arizona primary election posing significant challenges for Trump-backed candidates

Arizona primary election posing significant challenges for Trump-backed candidates
Imave via Gage Skidmore.

The primary election shaping up in the state of Arizona is projected to be one of the greatest challenges for former President Donald Trump as it may determine just how far his influence reaches.

According to The Hill, Trump-endorsed far-right candidates are set to take on "a slate of establishment-backed Republicans" so their roads to victory won't be easy. The latest report comes as Trump continues his efforts to circulate false information about the 2020 presidential election.

A number of Republican strategists, pollsters, and pundits have also weighed in with their take on the political shake-up in Arizona.

READ MORE: 'Unfit to serve': Arizona House GOP censures its Speaker for testifying against Donald Trump

“It’s a very defining moment for the Republican Party because it doesn’t get more obvious than this proxy war between Trump and the powers in the party,” said Mike Noble, an Arizona-based pollster who also serves as Research and Managing partner of OH Predictive insights.

Although Trump may no longer be in office, his influence continues to have a substantial significance. That revelation became more profound this week with Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers' (R) testimony before the House Select Committee. Following Bowers' testimony, the Arizona Republican executive committee moved to censure him after he spoke of Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Now Trump is retaliating against Bowers, who is now running for the Arizona state Senate. The former president recently announced his endorsement of state Senate candidate, David Farnsworth, and has urged Republican voters in a statement to “replace [Bowers] in the ballot box” in the state's upcoming primary election.

“I expect him to spend some energy dumping on Rusty tomorrow,” one Republican operative said.

READ MORE: Newly released MAGA e-mails underscore Trump’s brazen efforts to overturn Arizona election results: report

“He likes Farnsworth enough but he hates Rusty Bowers,” the operative added. “Sure, he likes Blake Masters enough, but he hates Mark Brnovich.”

While some Trump-endorsed candidates have been defeated during the primary elections season, The Hill notes that some have benefited greatly from Trump endorsements. "Having the Trump name allows lesser-known candidates to bring in more cash, unlike candidates like Masters, who already had the help of GOP mega-donor Peter Thiel by the time he was endorsed by Trump," The Hill reported.

“It’s not the JD Vance situation where he sort of pulled him out of third place and rocket-fueled him,” the operative said.

An Arizona-based Republican strategist who also assisted the late Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) for his re-election campaign in 2016 has also weighed in with her take on the impact of Trump's endorsements.

“I think the Trump endorsement has helped Kari Lake, but at this point, she’s kind of plateaued,” said Lorna Romero. “Since they’re [Lake and Robson] the only two Republicans, at this point they’re fighting over the undecideds and independents that poll Republican ballots, and those are not individuals that tend to be swayed by a Trump endorsement.”

Despite the obvious uphill battle Trump candidates are facing in Arizona, the former president's campaign team recently released a statement dismissing the concerns.

“President Trump and his America First policies still remain popular, especially after living under the disastrous policies of President Biden and the radical left the last two years,” the campaign said in a statement.

READ MORE: Donald Trump attacks Republican Arizona House Speaker for cooperating with January 6th panel

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