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Is Arizona the first page in the GOP showdown for the heart of the Republican Party?

Election 2022 Governor Arizona
Posted at 9:05 AM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 12:28:14-04

PHOENIX — For Republican voters, there is a stark difference between the two major candidates for governor running in the primary. That line in the sand is on full display Friday when the former president and the former vice president campaign in Arizona for different candidates.

Mike Pence appears with Karrin Taylor Robson in Peoria and later in Tucson and Donald Trump attends a rally for Kari Lake and other candidates he has endorsed in Prescott. Stan Barnes was a state legislator and is now a lobbyist and a Republican political consultant. He says he thought he'd seen everything. "I've been actively involved in Arizona politics for three decades and nothing scores as high on the Richter scale as what is happening in Arizona this week," Barnes said.

Barnes believes Arizona's Republican primary voters are deciding way more than who their nominee for governor will be. "They're choosing the future of a party. They're deciding what the party is not just who the nominee is. What the party is."

Politics is usually left at the door at the Shadow Mountain Senior Center in North Phoenix. There is a regular game of Mah-Jongg in one room a group of women crocheting in another and at desk in the hallway, Dave Dodson was busy solving a puzzle. "What I'm looking for is a moderate," Dodson said. Sharon, who is a registered Republican paused from crocheting a blanket to suggest the party shouldn't count her vote just yet. "Those two I saw on a panel, and they're both anti-abortion which I don't like." Sharon says she wants to hear what Mike Pence has to say before making a choice for governor.

Pence is said to be considering a run for the White House in 2024. Just like Donald Trump, who Chuck Coughlin of Public Affairs Firm High Ground says, may have more to lose if Kari Lake doesn't win the primary. "People will look at it and say Trump's stranglehold is weakening on the Republican party and he's got to look at his own future and say is he capable of winning a primary."

ABC15 will have coverage on the rallies throughout our newscasts Friday.