PHOENIX — The Republican governor's primary in Georgia was a race that was circled on Governor Doug Ducey's election calendar.
As co-chair of the Republican Governor's Association, his goal is to get incumbents re-elected. Even if it means going up against Donald Trump, which Ducey did, campaigning for Kemp in Georgia. The RGA contributed $5 million to Kemp's primary.
In Georgia, Republican voters overwhelmingly chose Kemp over Trump-endorsed former U.S. Senator David Purdue, dismissing Trump's unfounded claim Governor Kemp helped steal the election from him.
Kemp is now the third Republican governor to win a primary after facing a primary challenge from a Trump-endorsed candidate.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Idaho Governor Brad Little are the others.
"What Governor Ducey has done very successfully is focus on the things that matter most to regular people not on things that matter to a former president who continues to litigate an election he lost," said Kirk Adams. Adams served as Governor Ducey's Chief of Staff during Ducey's first term, and he remains a political confidant.
The idea that Republican governors needed to move forward and away from the results of the 2020 election was decided last November in Phoenix during the Republican Governor's Association meeting.
Days earlier, Virginia elected Glen Youngkin, the first Republican governor elected in that state since 2014.
A year before President Biden won Virginia by 10 percentage points, Youngkin's campaign focused on pocketbook issues and stayed clear of former President Trump who endorsed another candidate during Virginia's Republican state convention.
In Phoenix, Ducey and former Vice President Mike Pence encouraged governors running in 2022 to do the same thing.
"My advice to Republican governors," Pence said in an interview with ABC15. "Continue to lead, lead boldly, with principle."
Like Georgia, Arizona is considered a swing state.
Kari Lake, Karren Taylor Robson, and Matt Salmon are all competing in the Republican Primary.
"Voters are able to discern, they're able to understand and make choices about candidates and we're seeing that in Georgia," Adams said, "I believe we're going to do the same thing in Arizona."
Kari Lake is Trump's candidate in Arizona. The most recent poll by OH Predictive shows she's leading but Karren Taylor Robson is gaining ground.
This week Robson is attending the National Republican Governors Association meeting in Nashville, where she is hoping to land a few endorsements and the RGA's financial support.