Donald Trump remains aggrieved about the outcome of the 2020 election and has made election denial a litmus test of earning his support in Arizona, where he’s backed Blake Masters for US Senate, Kari Lake for governor, Mark Finchem for secretary of state, and Abe Hamadeh for attorney general.
Donald Trump may no longer be president of the United States, but he is still the de facto leader of the Republican Party, its most popular figure, and a force in Republican politics. Despite—or arguably because of—Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, he remains popular with the Republican base, and his endorsements often prove decisive in Republican primaries.
On Aug. 2, Republican voters will go to the polls in Arizona, where they’ll decide who to nominate for key positions like US Senator, governor, secretary of state, and attorney general—as well as voting on dozens of local races. When they cast their votes, they’ll have the option to support Trump-backed candidates up and down the ballot.
RELATED: The Copper Courier’s Guide to Voting in Arizona in 2022
There are few states where Trump has been more involved than in Arizona this year. Two years after he became the first Republican presidential candidate to lose the state in a generation, Trump remains aggrieved about the outcome of the 2020 election—which he falsely claims was stolen from him—and has made election denial a litmus test of earning his support in the state.
In each race, Trump’s endorsement has helped the candidate become the frontrunner, with brand new polling from OH Predictive Insights showing his choices in the lead in each race.
We’ll find out soon whether it gets them over the finish line. For now, here’s what you need to know about Trump’s chosen candidates:
US Senate – Blake Masters
A tech millionaire whose campaign has been largely funded by his mentor, anti-democratic billionaire Peter Thiel, Blake Masters has attempted to brand himself as a “populist” and “nationalist” Republican who denies Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
Masters—a onetime libertarian—has fully embraced the MAGA movement and used ugly rhetoric about immigrants and Black people, an approach that earned Trump’s endorsement last month, a nod that has elevated him above his opponents, solar energy executive Jim Lamon and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
Here’s what you need to know about Masters:
- He is exceptionally close to Thiel, who once wrote that “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” Masters even co-wrote a book with him, raising questions about whether he’d represent Arizonans or his billionaire benefactor.
- He wants to gut the federal government and has suggested privatizing social security, a move that could put benefits at risk and leave millions of Americans’ economic security to the whims of the stock market.
- He claims falsely that Trump won the 2020 election, has spread lies about voter fraud, and even suggested the 2022 elections could be stolen from him.
- He wants to ban abortion nationwide, without exceptions.
- Masters has been endorsed by a literal neo-Nazi, Andrew Anglin, who has advocated for the genocide of the Jewish people. Masters has denounced Anglin and rejected the endorsement, but he is also close with Curtis Yarvin, an anti-democratic blogger who has written that some people are “more suited to slavery” than others, that the US needs to get over its “dictatorphobia,” and that the country should become a monarchy headed by a CEO.
- He wants to cut legal immigration and has referred to migrants seeking entry at the US border as an “invasion.”
- Masters has amplified and spread the dangerous “great replacement” conspiracy theory that Democrats are trying to replace white Americans with illegal immigrants for political and electoral gain. This absolutely baseless theory has influenced multiple mass shooters, including the gunman in the deadly 2019 massacre in El Paso, TX, and the gunman in Buffalo, NY, who murdered 10 Black people at a grocery store in a heavily Black community earlier this year.
- He explicitly blamed gun violence in America on Black people.
- Masters downplayed the attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and suggested it was a false flag operation set up by the FBI. In reality, the attack was a violent siege that left five people—including a Capitol police officer—dead and hundreds more injured.
Arizona Governor – Kari Lake
Former TV News Anchor Kari Lake has led the Republican gubernatorial primary field in every single public poll so far, including the most recent one released Friday. But as part of her sprint to the right, Lake has staked out truly some radical positions on a host of different issues—ones that would have significant consequences for Arizona families.
Here’s what you need to know about Lake:
- She has repeatedly and falsely claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, citing the Arizona GOP’s sham forensic audit that actually confirmed Biden’s victory in Maricopa County, and she has even suggested that the only way she could lose to primary opponent Karrin Taylor Robson was if Robson had “dead people voting” for her.
- Lake supports and would enforce Arizona’s 1901 pre-Roe ban on abortion, which would ban the procedure in nearly all cases and criminalize doctors who perform it. She also wants to ban medication abortion.
- She has called for schools to place cameras in classrooms to monitor teachers and supported Republican lawmakers who voted to cut public school funding by 16%—a potentially devastating outcome that was only narrowly avoided.
- Lake wants to direct even more taxpayer funding to for-profit private and charter schools, even as Arizona is already home to the possibly most permissive school voucher program in the country.
- She wants to align state educational standards with a radically conservative education agenda known as the Hillsdale 1776 curriculum, which is conservative propaganda.
- Lake said she would refuse to enforce any federal gun safety laws as governor, even as gun violence has surged across the country.
- She has helped sow a baseless, right-wing moral panic over sex, LGBTQ individuals, and “child grooming,” a term used to describe the act of getting close to and building trust with a child or young person with the intent of sexually abusing them.
- Lake has accused—without evidence— President Joe Biden of promoting a “perverted sexual agenda of grooming our children.”
- She campaigned with and paid a convicted felon who schemed to kill an FBI informant and pled guilty to assaulting a police officer.
- She’s associated with Nazi sympathizers, white nationalists, and conspiracy theorists.
Arizona Secretary of State – Mark Finchem
Would you put an arsonist in charge of the fire department? Trump is asking Arizonans to do just that with his endorsement of hardcore election denier Mark Finchem.
Finchem, a state representative from Oro Valley, has fully embraced Trump’s conspiracy theories about the 2020 election as he campaigns to be Arizona’s next secretary of state—a role that would allow him power over Arizona’s elections.
The Trump endorsement has paid off for Finchem, who’s on track to cruise to victory on Tuesday.
Here’s what you need to know about Mark Finchem:
- He argued the Arizona state legislature has the power to override Arizona voters’ ability to decide who gets the state’s electoral votes and represents them in the White House.
- Finchem spread the lie that the legislature could decertify the 2020 election results and deliver Arizona’s electoral votes to Trump. He even introduced a bill to decertify the election and was involved in efforts to overturn the election at the federal level.
- Finchem was present at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, though he claims he did not go inside the building.
- His business entity got $6,000 from Trump for aiding in efforts to overturn Arizona’s election results.
- He wants to eliminate all early voting in Arizona.
- Finchem is a member of multiple extremist groups, including The Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia group that was heavily involved in the Jan. 6 attack and whose founder called former Sen. John McCain a traitor who “should be hung by the neck until dead.”
- Finchem denied any far-right involvement in the deadly 2017 Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, VA, and instead claimed it was a “Deep State PsyOp” to help Democrats.
- He has embraced QAnon and spread deranged conspiracy theories about elected officials being involved in pedophile networks.
Arizona Attorney General – Abe Hamadeh
Of all of Trump’s endorsements, Abe Hamadeh may be the strangest. A former Maricopa County prosecutor and army captain, Hamadeh is a newcomer to politics and at 31, the youngest Republican candidate for attorney general.
Hamadeh has embraced the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen, a strategy that earned him Trump’s endorsement in June and a huge polling bump in July.
Here’s what you need to know about Abe Hamadeh:
- Hamadeh has cited debunked lies about widespread voter fraud to argue that Biden did not win Arizona in the 2020 election.
- Hamadeh is anti-abortion and has vowed to enforce Arizona’s draconian abortion bans.
- He opposes popular “red flag” laws which allow police and family members to petition a court to take away someone’s guns for up to a year if they believe that person is a threat to themselves or others.
- He believes Arizona’s border is being “invaded” by migrants and said he would work with the governor to invoke the State War Powers Act, allowing the state government to flood the border with National Guard troops to arrest migrants.
- He earned Trump’s endorsement after seemingly inflating his campaign bank account via a million-dollar loan from his brother that he repaid a mere two weeks later.