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Ahead of AZ Trump Rally, New Reports Highlight How Trump’s Wrecking Chaos in GOP Senate Primaries

AP: GOP primary candidates have “embraced Trump’s falsehoods as they have tried to win over his endorsement, deflect his fury or win over his base.

Ahead of Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona tonight, new reports from CBS, The Associated Press and The Hillare highlighting how Trump is escalating the chaos in the AZ Republican Senate primary and in GOP primaries across the Senate battlegrounds – and how Republicans are warning they “risked nominating fringe candidates who would go on to lose in the general.”

Earlier this week, Roll Calland POLITICO also examined how Trump’s “focus has turned to the contest for the Senate”, where he’s attempting to play “kingmaker” and “boost MAGA candidates” as GOP Senate candidates are “duking it out” for his support.

CBS: Trump holds first 2022 rally in Arizona as heated GOP Senate primary is underway
By Adam Brewster
January 14, 2022

Key points:

  • Democrats say Trump is “creating chaos” in the Republican primaries, “elevating deeply flawed GOP candidates, escalating Republicans’ infighting, and forcing their candidates to attack each other over who can suck up to Trump the most,” said Jazmin Vargas, a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
  • One issue Republicans will have to navigate is the review of the 2020 election that Arizona Senate Republicans ordered in Maricopa County. The review, which was widely criticized by election experts, ultimately showed a wider margin of victory for President Joe Biden.
  • “The audit issue, especially for Republicans on the ticket this year, it’s like walking a tightrope of floss,” said Mike Noble, chief of research at the nonpartisan polling firm OH Predictive Insights.
  • Lamon rallied outside of Brnovich’s office in December, calling for more action. Masters said Brnovich “needs to hold people accountable where laws were broken” and thinks Brnovich is trying to “kick the can past the primary so that he can pretend to be tough on election integrity.”
  • “It’s always easy to take cheap shots from the cheap seats,” a Brnovich campaign spokesperson said in a statement.
  • “He will never have my endorsement or the support of MAGA Nation!” Trump said in a statement Friday after Politico reported that Ducey is still open to entering the race.
  • “There’s no clear candidate and you might as well let it play out a little bit,” a Trump adviser said.

Associated Press: Some in GOP begin testing party’s lockstep loyalty to Trump
By Jill Colvin
January 15th, 2022

Key Points:

  • Former President Donald Trump is stepping up his election-year effort to dominate the Republican Party with a Saturday rally in Arizona in which he plans to castigate anyone who dares to question his lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, likely including the state’s GOP governor, Doug Ducey.
  • Dissent from Trump’s election lie within the GOP remains rare. From Ohio to Georgia and Arizona, candidates running for Senate, governor and attorney general have fully embraced Trump’s falsehoods as they have tried to win over his endorsement, deflect his fury or win over his base.
  • In the short term, such positioning may help Republican candidates come out on top in primary fields that are often crowded. But there are concerns that it could hurt the party in the fall, especially among suburban voters who have become increasingly decisive in recent campaigns. The further to the right that Republicans go now, the easier it could become for their Democratic rivals to portray them as extreme in a general election.
  • “It’s one of those issues that’s quintessentially popular in a primary and unpopular in a general,” said Chris DeRose, a Republican attorney and former clerk of the superior court in Arizona’s Maricopa County.
  • The risk, however, is clear in Arizona’s Senate race… Some in the party are eager for Ducey to enter the race against Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly. But Trump’s repeated attacks on Ducey, who has refused to back election conspiracies, could make it hard for him to succeed in a GOP primary. Before his trip, Trump issued a statement that he would never endorse Ducey.
  • Whichever Republicans emerge on top in Arizona and other critical races will have to convince voters that they should participate in an election system Trump has spent years deriding as rigged.
  • Barbara Comstock, a Trump critic and former GOP congresswoman from Virginia, warned Republicans risked nominating fringe candidates who would go on to lose in the general…“I think you really are taking a chance in blowing reliable races.”

The Hill: Trump to make election claims center stage in Arizona
By Julia Manchester
January 15th, 2022

Key points:

  • Former President Trump will address the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol at a campaign rally in Arizona on Saturday, setting the tone for his wing of the GOP going into the midterm cycle.
  • Trump’s first rally of the midterm year also comes as the Republican Senate primary field in Arizona heats up.
  • Republican Jim Lamon has catered toward Trump and his base, supporting a number of lawsuits challenging the 2020 presidential election results.
  • Meanwhile, a super PAC backing GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters, Saving Arizona PAC, rolled out an ad last year hitting state Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R), who is also running in the primary, for not touting Trump’s election fraud claims enough.
  • On top of all of that, speculation has been growing that Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who is term-limited, may be considering jumping into the crowded primary. Ducey earned the ire of Trump in 2020 when he and Brnovich sat alongside Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs when she certified the election results in 2020.
  • “Trump is creating chaos in Senate GOP primaries across the map — he’s elevating deeply flawed GOP candidates, escalating Republicans’ infighting, and forcing their candidates to attack each other over who can suck up to Trump the most,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Jazmin Vargas.

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Ahead Of Arizona Rally, “Kingmaker” Trump Forces GOP Senate Candidates To “Prove Their Loyalty”

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