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Axios: “GOP primary fights are already getting nasty”

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New reporting from Axios is highlighting how Republicans “are facing crowded and increasingly nasty gubernatorial primaries…— with candidates sizing each other up over Donald Trump, election conspiracies and COVID-19 mandates”

Races in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Idaho, have drawn anywhere from two to 12 Republican candidates vying for the governor’s mansion. To win far-right support, candidates are “campaigning heavily on — and, at times, questioning others about — some of former President Trump’s greatest concerns: the 2020 election results and the coronavirus pandemic.”

Here’s a snapshot on just how far to the right these primaries are:

    • In Michigan: “At least 12 Republicans are running for governo…and roughly half of them don’t believe Biden legitimately won last year’s election.”
    • In Arizona: “the six-person GOP primary is made up of a Trump-backed election conspiracy theorist and former TV anchor, Kari Lake, as well as a former member of Congress and local business and political leaders.”
  • In Nevada: “Five GOP candidates have stepped up in Nevada, so far, and several of their campaigns have embraced Trump”
    • In Minnesota: In a recent GOP debate, every single one of the Republican primary field — which includes an anti-vax “doctor” — refused to admit Joe Biden was legitimately elected president.
  • In Pennsylvania: “Pennsylvania’s Republican primary for governor also has grown to the double digits. Trump hasn’t endorsed anyone, but at least one candidate has already sought his endorsement, and others push the Big Lie and question each other’s loyalty to him.”
  • In Georgia: GOP candidates are already bringing the “scorched earth primary” straight to Georgians’ living rooms. Brian Kemp hit the airwaves with his first tv ad of the cycle attacking his Trump-endorsed opponent, former senator David Perdue.

It’s not just open seats with messy primaries. An astonishingly high number of GOP incumbent governors are facing primary challengers. 11 of 15 governors are facing primary challengers and 3 are endorsed by Donald Trump. In Massachusetts, incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker decided not to run after Trump endorsed his would-be primary opponent.

It’s a lot, we know. The DGA is keeping an updated tracker of how many GOP incumbent governors are facing primary challengers at RGAindisarray.com.

“The RGA has a primary problem that runs deep,” said DGA Deputy Communications Director Sam Newton “These primaries aren’t just crowded; they’re incredibly divisive, with GOP candidates jockeying over the support of the far-right base. With Donald Trump pouring gasoline on their already massive dumpster fire, the RGA is in for a rough year.”