Arizona is ground zero for election denialism, with GOP candidates for governor, Senate, secretary of state and attorney general all denying the results of the 2020 election. But that hasn’t stopped Republican leaders from campaigning with them.
On Wednesday, GOP Gov. Doug Ducey and former Vice President Mike Pence, who both defied pressure from former President Donald Trump to overturn the election results, respectively backed gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and Senate nominee Blake Masters, both of whom have said the 2020 election was stolen.
In an interview with NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard, Ducey defended the Republican Governors Association’s decision to back Lake, arguing that border security, school choice and taxes are also important issues. And Pence said at event with Masters that he is a “proven conservative.”
The events in Arizona underscore a broader dynamic within the GOP as Republican leaders back scores of candidates who echo Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell summed it up this way in an interview with CNN: “I don’t have a litmus test. I’m for people that get the Republican nomination, and for winning, because if we win, we get to decide what the agenda is, and they don’t.”
Elsewhere on the campaign trail:
Colorado Senate/Governor: Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet leads Republican Joe O’Dea in a new Marist poll of registered voters 48%-41%. The poll also found Democratic Gov. Jared Polis leading his Republican rival, Heidi Ganahl, 54%-36%.
Pennsylvania Senate: Democratic nominee John Fetterman released a new ad in partnership with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee featuring a Republican planning to vote for him over the Republican nominee, Mehmet Oz. The ad is part of a new “Republicans for Fetterman” initiative, his campaign says.
Wisconsin Senate: Democrat Mandela Barnes is leaning into the issue of abortion as polls show a close race, Politico reports.
Michigan Governor: Vice President Kamala Harris will attend a fundraiser for Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the Detroit area this weekend. The RGA’s Michigan political committee is going up with its first direct ad buy of the general election in this race, for about $430,000 per AdImpact.
Nevada Governor: Everytown For Gun Safety Action Fund is booking its first ad buy in this race, costing $1.8 million, per AdImpact.
Oregon Governor: Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is campaigning next week with Oregon GOP gubernatorial nominee Christine Drazan.
Texas Governor: The Texas Tribune reports that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic nominee Beto O’Rourke each raised about $25 million from July through Sept. 29. And a new Marist poll of registered voters found 49% backing Abbott and 45% backing O’Rourke.
Texas Attorney General: NBC News’ Suzanne Gamboa explores whether the issue of abortion can help Democrat Rochelle Garza in her race against GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Connecticut-05: The Congressional Leadership Fund booked $1.1 million in ads here, per AdImpact.
Oregon-06: The Cook Political Report moved its rating of the newly drawn Oregon 6th District to a “Toss Up.”
Rhode Island-02: Republican Allan Fung leads Democrat Serth Magaziner by 8 points in a new Boston Globe/Suffolk poll, 45%-37% among likely voters. AdImpact data shows the GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund just booked another $1.1 million in ad spending there. Fung is one of a handful of Republicans threatening to break Democrats’ hold on New England House districts, per the Washington post.