Arizona voters head to the polls on Tuesday to cast ballots in the state's high-stakes primary races, where a slate of leading Republican candidates -- with endorsements from former President Donald Trump -- have doubled down, in the final weeks of campaigning, on false conspiracies about the 2020 election.
With former Vice President Mike Pence backing a competing candidate to Trump's pick in the open governor's race, the Aug. 2 primary in Arizona offers yet another test of whether Republicans want to move forward with Trump -- or move on from him.
The winning candidates in the state's nine House and one Senate primary contests will go on to represent their party in the November midterm general election. Polls close at 10 p.m. ET.
Arizona in 2022 will show how blue the state has shifted or whether the state will go back to backing the GOP in November.
In the latest example of his enduring -- or possibly waning -- grip over the Republican Party, Trump is seeking revenge on Tuesday in Arizona, the swing state that President Joe Biden won in 2020 by his slimmest margin in the country -- some 10,000 votes -- and which became a battleground for Trump's "big lie" with conspiracy theories and public protests culminating in GOP-backed election audits, all of which confirmed Biden was the winner.
For 2022, a slate of Trump-endorsed candidates who claim, without evidence, the 2020 election was stolen are running for offices in charge of overseeing and certifying elections, and some have already suggested they wouldn't concede a loss in their own.
Kari Lake, a former local news anchor turned "ultra-MAGA" Republican, and far-right State Rep. Mark Finchem, who was in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, and among 30 GOP lawmakers in Arizona who signed a resolution calling on Congress to accept an "alternate" slate of electoral votes, are leading in several polls in their races for governor and secretary of state, respectively. (Finchem has acknowledged being outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 but said he didn't go inside.)
If elected in November, the pair would have broad powers over the management of the state's elections.
Pence and GOP Gov. Doug Ducey, term-limited and drawing Trump's ire since ignoring his call when certifying the 2020 election, backed Karrin Taylor Robson for governor. Robson, while still raising concerns with "election integrity," does not back the baseless 2020 claims as publicly as her opponent. At a GOP debate. Robson was the only candidate who refused to raise her hand in agreement to Lake's false allegation that the election was stolen -- she said, instead, that she wouldn't play into Lake's "stunt."
Lake's campaign called Robson's response "sickening." Ducey, in another break from Trump, also endorsed Finchem's primary opponent Beau Lane, who does not support the false election fraud claims.
Katie Hobbs, the current secretary of state and likely Democratic candidate for governor, has criticized Lake and Robson's contest as a "primary race to the bottom," but said she believes the race for the governor's mansion is a toss-up in the general election.
Trump has also backed the front-runner in the GOP Senate race: Blake Masters, a 35-year-old venture capitalist in his first run for public office who has received millions in funding from billionaire Peter Thiel after co-authoring a business book based on a class Thiel taught at Stanford University. At a rally with Trump in July, Masters said he would "impeach" Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Masters is challenging Sen. Mark Kelly, who flipped a Senate seat from red to blue in a special election after the death of Sen. John McCain. Kelly defeated GOP Sen. Martha McSally, who was appointed by Ducey, by more than 78,000 votes to serve out the remainder of McCain's term, through Jan. 2023. If Democrats lose just one Senate seat in November, like Kelly's, they will lose their majority.
At the state level, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers faces a Trump-backed primary challenger, too. Bowers, who is now running for state Senate, was a witness for the House Jan. 6 committee and publicly testified to how he resisted Trump's push to help overturn the 2020 election results.
"If we want to base a party and an authority and move people to solve problems, you can't base it on a lie. Ultimately, that falls apart," he recently ABC's Jonathan Karl.