A Trump-Pence Split Screen in Arizona

Donald Trump and Mike Pence headlined dueling Arizona rallies to back their preferred candidates for governor.


Donald Trump and Mike Pence headlined dueling Arizona rallies to back their preferred candidates for governor, the latest proxy battle between the two likely 2024 presidential candidates.

  • The former president endorsed former local TV news anchor Kari Lake, while his old running mate backed businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson.
  • Kari Lake, a onetime Buddhist and Barack Obama donor, has been on an ideological journey and is now a “true MAGA believer” who questions the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
  • Karrin Taylor Robson began her career working for Ronald Reagan’s administration and is a prominent Arizona housing developer and member of the state Board of Regents. The wealthy Robson has largely self-funded her campaign, loaning her campaign more than $13 million.
  • Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and former presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee are backing Robson. Former House Freedom Caucus member Matt Salmon dropped out of the primary and also supports Robson.
  • The former vice president slammed Lake for wanting “to make this election about the past” while praising Robson for making the G.O.P. “the party of the future” – the same line he used when he endorsed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in a primary against a Trump-backed rival.
  • Mike Pence isn’t the only potential 2024 candidate separating himself from the former president.
  • Relations between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Trump have been tense for months, and the two G.O.P. heavyweights headlined separate conferences in Florida over the weekend.

reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Politico called the Trump-Pence duel in the desert “one-sided” and a “varsity-JV scrimmage” in a state that “remains tilted sharply towards Trump.”
  • Per CNN, Pence told his audience, “Arizona Republicans don’t need a governor that supported Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton,” while Gov. Doug Ducey told CNN Lake is “misleading voters with no evidence” with her claims about widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
  • Roll Call poured cold water on media coverage of the “Trump-Pence proxy war” and argued that Mike Pence does not have “a viable path to the Oval Office.”


  • FOX News reported on Pence’s speech. The former vice president told the crowd Robson’s election would “send a deafening message heard all across America that the Republican Party is the party of the future. You need a governor that supported every conservative cause from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump. You need Karrin Taylor Robson in the statehouse.”
  • Breitbart covered Trump’s rally speech endorsing Kari Lake. Trump said Kari Lake “will do whatever it takes to protect the people of Arizona” and “No one understands better than Kari how to fight back against the Fake News media and the Radical Left.”
  • National Review noted this is the second time Trump and Pence have backed rival candidates in a G.O.P. primary after Pence supported Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp against Sen. David Perdue, his Trump-backed challenger. Kemp stomped Perdue, but Robson trails the Trump-backed Lake in recent polling.

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© Dominic Moore, 2022