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Kari Lake acknowledges the crowd at a Save America Rally prior to her speaking, on Jan. 15, 2022, in Florence, Ariz.
Kari Lake acknowledges the crowd at a Save America Rally prior to her speaking, on Jan. 15, 2022, in Florence, Ariz.Ross D. Franklin / AP file

Midterm roundup: Big day in Arizona

Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidates met on the debate stage Wednesday night.

By and

Wednesday was a big day in the Arizona GOP gubernatorial primary — first, former Rep. Matt Salmon, who dropped out one day prior, backed establishment favorite Karrin Taylor Robson over the Trump-backed Kari Lake. Hours later, the two squared off in their sole debate on Arizona PBS (which also included two long-shot Republicans). 

Here are some of the key moments, per NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard reporting from Phoenix:

Lake on the 2020 election: “[Biden] lost the election and he shouldn’t be in the White House. We had a corrupt election.”

Robson, when Lake asked her to raise her hand if she agreed: “I’m not going to play your stunt.”

Robson on the focus of her campaign: “Republican voters now are worried about putting food on their table & gas in their gas tank. They’re worried about the border.”

Lake on abortion: “I believe life begins at conception. ... I don’t think abortion pills should be legal in Arizona.”

Robson on abortion: “I agree. ... I’m 100% pro-life.”

One interesting note: Arizona PBS is broadcasting a Democratic gubernatorial debate today, which Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is skipping. Instead, former Border Patrol official and Nogales Mayor Marco López Jr. will sit for an interview, as he’s the only candidate attending. 

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Alaska Senate: Trump announced a July 9 rally in Alaska to boost his preferred candidates, including Kelly Tshibaka, who is challenging GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski; former Gov. Sarah Palin, who is running for the at-large House seat; and GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy. 

Pennsylvania Senate: Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman wants to fine airlines for canceling flights they were previously aware they didn’t have staff to fly. 

Arizona Governor: Robson just booked another $1.45 million in television and spending through the first half of July, extending her massive advantage on the airwaves. 

Illinois Governor: Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker is up with a new spot quoting Republican nominee Darren Bailey’s “extreme views” on abortion. Attacks like these are one reason why the party spent tens of millions to elevate Bailey in the primary. 

Nevada Governor: Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak is challenging his general election opponent, Republican Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, to two debates, per a campaign press release.

Ohio Governor: Former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, the Democratic nominee for governor, is pushing for a ballot initiativecodifying abortion rights in Ohio, per the Cincinnati Enquirer.

California-22: Rep. David Valadao, one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump after Jan. 6, advanced past the Top 2 primary and will face off against Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas in November, the NBC News Decision Desk projected late Tuesday.

Michigan-11: EMILY’s independent expenditure arm Women Vote! is launching an $860,000 TV buy in Michigan’s 11th District, its first in the race, where Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens is facing off against fellow Democratic Rep. Andy Levin in the Aug. 2 primary. EMILY’s List has endorsed Stevens.

Arizona Legislature: Trump on Wednesday endorsed former GOP state Sen. David Farnsworth in his primary against Rusty Bowers, the state House speaker who testified during a recent Jan. 6 committee hearing. Bowers is running for a state Senate seat in November.