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Most Arizona GOP Candidates Will Attend Trump's Phoenix Rally On Saturday

By Ben Giles
Published: Friday, July 23, 2021 - 2:46pm
Updated: Friday, July 23, 2021 - 4:18pm

 Donald Trump
Jimmy Jenkins/KJZZ
President Donald Trump addresses supporters at the airport in Prescott on Oct. 19, 2020.

Most Republicans running for statewide office in Arizona are expected to attend a rally with former President Donald Trump on Saturday.

With few exceptions, GOP candidates for governor, secretary of state and U.S. Senate are scheduled to attend. Many have confirmed they’ll speak at the day-long event, dubbed the “Rally To Protect Elections.

That includes gubernatorial hopefuls like Kimberly Yee, the current Arizona treasurer, Matt Salmon, a former congressman, and Kari Lake, a former television anchor turned far-right candidate. Candidates for U.S. Senate, who are vying for the chance to challenge Democrat Mark Kelly, like Mick McGuire, the former Arizona National Guard adjutant general, and Blake Masters, an aide to billionaire Peter Theil, have also announced they’ll be speaking at Trump’s rally.

→ 2022 Arizona Governor's Race: The Candidates

Lorna Romero Ferguson, owner of the political consulting firm Elevate Strategies, said it makes sense for inexperienced candidates to attend a Trump rally and take advantage of the crowds he’s historically drawn in Arizona.

“Somebody who's running for statewide office for the first time, they're not gonna be able to get a crowd to hear them speak or get in front of an audience or to get the media to cover certain statements they think they have to say, unless they go to a rally like this,” Romero Ferguson said.

At least two notable GOP candidates won’t attend: Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who’s running for U.S. Senate, and Karrin Taylor Robson, a businesswoman and former member of the Arizona Board of Regents running for governor.

Spokespersons for both candidates said they’d been invited to attend, but had previously-scheduled obligations that conflict with the rally.

Not attending might pay off in the long run.

While polling has shown a partisan, GOP-led election review in Maricopa County — which Trump has falsely touted as evidence he won the 2020 presidential election — is popular with Arizona Republicans, independent voters are more likely to oppose the so-called audit.

“[Trump] may focus on the audit, he may throw something out of left field, who knows what's gonna come out of his mouth, but then you were associated with that, because you were on the same stage, at the same event where he was the headliner,” Romero Ferguson said. “And so that's always a risk.”