Salmon quits AZ GOP governor primary, endorses rival of Trump-backed frontrunner Kari Lake

Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial primary has been shaken up after candidate Matt Salmon quit and endorsed the main opponent of the Trump-backed frontrunner.

With former congressman Salmon out, the Aug. 2 primary becomes a two-way contest between Trump-endorsed former news anchor Kari Lake, and developer Karrin Taylor Robson.

Arizona GOP primary shaken up

Salmon’s decision comes a week before early voting begins. He said he has no realistic chance of winning and did not want to split votes.

“Republican primary voters deserve more than having their votes split on Aug. 2, and so I am leaving this race for the same reason that I entered it: Because it is what’s best for the people of Arizona,” he said.

After leaving the race, Salmon gave his endorsement to Robson, calling her a true conservative and accusing Lake of being a Johnny-come-lately with the wrong temperament for the job.

Robson “didn’t just come onto the scene when she decided to run for governor espousing conservative views,” he said.

He also issued a statement to supporters calling on them to back Robson, citing “shared values” and saying she has “the temperament and experience to govern Arizona.”

Frontrunner Lake takes heat

It remains to be seen what effect Salmon’s exit will have on Lake’s polling lead, but Robson didn’t wait to call Lake a phony.

“Kari Lake may have discovered God, Guns and the GOP just in time for her political campaign, but Matt and I have been fighting for decades for the conservative issues that matter,” she said.

Lake has gotten a lot of heat from the left for vocally espousing the so-called “Big Lie” — that is, the view that the 2020 election was not legitimate and fair — and from some on the right who question her authenticity. Still, she leads the race by about 7 points, according to RealClear Politics.

She said that Salmon’s supporters are welcome to join her campaign to put “America First” anytime.

“As I’ve said from the beginning — if you love this state, this country and our America First ideals, I welcome you into our movement with open arms,” Lake said in a statement.

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