By Ronald Sampson
As you are nearly certainly aware of, last Tuesday was primary election day, and while there weren’t many shocking outcomes, there was a very clear winner: someone who wasn’t even on the ballot. Indeed, former President Trump
Trump made four big ticket endorsements: Blake Masters for Senate, Kari Lake for Governor, Mark Finchem for Secretary of State, and Abe Hamedeh for Attorney General. All four of them won their primaries. It was a clean sweep for Trump, something that will no doubt feed his ego and lead him to believe that he is truly a kingmaker.
That said, is he? What does this tell us? Frankly, all it tells us is that Trump is still very popular amongst Republican primary voters, which shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. Also, there is much to be said for the relative lack of strong primary competitors. Many seemed to resent Karrin Taylor-Robson’s attempt to buy the election and trying her hardest to come off as a hardcore Republican. Beau Lane didn’t seem to put up much of a fight against Finchem even with all the money he had. And when perennial candidate Rodney Glassman is your closest competitor for Attorney General, well…that bodes well for you.
That said, this comes with massive risk in the form of the general election. The state that voted in favor of Joe Biden and Mark Kelly just two years ago will now be faced with a choice between Trumpian acolytes and largely moderate Democrats. Obviously Biden’s popularity is down the tubes since then, but many voters (and specifically more moderate female Republicans) will now have a more compelling reason to vote across party lines in the face of abortion protections coming to an end.
So Trump won a big battle in a very important state last week, but an even more important battle lies ahead in November, and a loss then will entirely erase the importance of this past win. A clean sweep in either direction will play a critical role in his legacy, in one direction or another.