Pence, Trump headline separate rallies for competing Republican governor candidates Robson, Lake

Mike Pence has backed Karrin Taylor Robson while Donald Trump has backed Kari Lake

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Former Vice President Mike Pence held a rally in Peoria, Arizona on Friday afternoon in support of Republican governor candidate Karrin Taylor Robson while former President Donald Trump held a rally in nearby Prescott Valley for her primary competitor candidate Kari Lake.

Pence told the group that if Robson is elected, it could "send a deafening message heard all across America that the Republican Party is the party of the future."

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"You need a governor that supported every conservative cause from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump. You need Karrin Taylor Robson in the statehouse," Pence said.

This combination of photos shows from left, Republican candidates for Arizona governor Karrin Taylor Robson and Kari Lake prior to an Arizona PBS televised Republican debate June 29, 2022, in Phoenix.

This combination of photos shows from left, Republican candidates for Arizona governor Karrin Taylor Robson and Kari Lake prior to an Arizona PBS televised Republican debate June 29, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Pence criticized Robson’s primary opponent as a Democratic Party "convert," who previously supported Democrats like former President Barack Obama and twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"Look, I’m always happy to welcome converts to the Republican Party," Pence said, referring to Lake. "But Arizona Republicans don’t need a governor that supported Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton."

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a crowd of supporters at the University Club of Chicago on June 20, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a crowd of supporters at the University Club of Chicago on June 20, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)

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At a news conference after the rally, Pence reiterated his support for Robson at a border security briefing in Tucson.

"No one worked harder for the Trump-Pence ticket in 2016 or in 2020 than Karrin Taylor Robson," Pence said, Reuters reported. "She volunteered, she helped raise millions of dollars for our campaign. When we needed Karrin, Karrin was always there. And Karrin knows what Arizona needs in the days ahead. She knows there's no greater threat to Arizona and to this country than the crisis on our southern border."

"Nominate the kind of leadership to continue to build on the progress that Doug Ducey and his administration have made," Pence said. "That candidate is Karrin Taylor Robson."

He added: "In one year of the Biden-Harris administration, we've seen the radical left in the saddle in Washington, D.C. They've unleashed a tidal wave of left-wing policies that have weakened America at home and abroad, creating great hardship for American families."

The term-limited Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has also endorsed Robson.

Pence followed up both events on Twitter, encouraging voters to look forward to the future and not "the past," which may have been a veiled reference to Trump.

"Some people want this election to be about the past, but elections are always about the future. Democrats would love nothing more than for Republicans to take our eye off the ball and focus on days gone by."

On Friday evening, Trump held a rally for Lake, who he said would secure the U.S.-Mexico border and promote a Make American Great Again agenda.

"No one understands better than Kari how to fight back against the fake news media and the radical left," Trump said at a "Save America" rally in Prescott Valley.

Former President Donald Trump (L) embraces Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake at a ‘Save America’ rally in support of Arizona GOP candidates on July 22, 2022 in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

Former President Donald Trump (L) embraces Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake at a ‘Save America’ rally in support of Arizona GOP candidates on July 22, 2022 in Prescott Valley, Arizona. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Lake said a few comments of her own at the rally, where she urged Trump to run himself in 2024.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.