Former Vice President Mike Pence rebuked former President Donald Trump’s election-denying candidate for Arizona’s governor Friday while stumping for a rival gubernatorial hopeful ahead of next month’s primary, urging voters to send a “deafening message” that the GOP is the “party of the future.”
Pence made the comments while campaigning in the Grand Canyon State for Karrin Taylor Robson, a lawyer and housing developer with strong establishment Republican bona fides. Speaking in front of 350 people at a campaign event at TYR Tactical in Peoria, Pence took a dig at Kari Lake, a local TV news anchor who has campaigned on Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen through widespread fraud — assertions that have been roundly rejected by the courts and election officials.
“Now, there are those who want to make this election about the past,” the former vice president began. “Democrats in this state want Arizona to embrace the failed socialist policies advanced by the Biden-Harris administration. Arizonans know that the future belongs to freedom.”
“So let me say, when you get out and vote for Karrin Taylor Robson and this Republican team, you can say yes to a future of freedom for Arizona. You can say yes to our most cherished values: life and liberty. You can say yes to strong borders, safe streets, and great schools, [a] growing economy,” he continued. “And Arizona, make no mistake about it: When you get out and vote for Karrin Taylor Robson, you can send a deafening message that will be heard all across America that the Republican Party is the party of the future.”
That last line is a familiar one for Pence. While campaigning for Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) as he fought a Trump-backed primary challenge from former Georgia GOP Sen. David Perdue in May, he said at an event: “When you say yes to Gov. Brian Kemp tomorrow, you will send a deafening message all across America that the Republican Party is the party of the future.”
Arizona and Georgia have become two of the most significant battleground states nationwide, with both playing a significant role in pushing then-candidate Joe Biden over the edge in his 2020 electoral win. Trump and Pence’s divergence on which candidates they’ve supported in each state has served as a marker of their political split after 2020.
The Electoral College went 306-232 for Biden, but Trump has spent the nearly two years since his loss alleging that widespread fraud had tipped the results in swing states. Courts across the country rejected those claims, and Trump refused to concede, though in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, he pledged a “peaceful transition of power.” He has spent his time since leaving office maintaining his allegations and campaigning against Republicans who broke with him on his election loss.