Former VP Mike Pence speaks at Peoria rally for GOP candidate Karrin Taylor Robson

Former vice president Mike Pence spoke to hundreds of people in Peoria in favor of Arizona gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson.
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 11:17 AM MST|Updated: Jul. 23, 2022 at 2:10 PM MST
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PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson is campaigning with former Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Doug Ducey in Peoria on Friday, while former President Donald Trump is holding a rally for Kari Lake in Prescott Valley. Robson and Pence’s event comes on the heels of Pence’s claims that Robson was “the only candidate for governor that will keep Arizona’s border secure” and that she would “promote conservative values.”

Pence officially threw his support behind Robson last week and took the stage just after noon to make his case that she’s the best candidate to lead Arizona. “When I joined the ticket in 2016 to help Donald Trump win back America, Kari Lake was supporting Hillary Clinton,” he said. “Arizona Republicans don’t need a governor who supported Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. You need a governor that supported every conservative candidate from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump. You need Karrin Taylor Robson.”

About 300 supporters were in attendance to watch the former vice president describe Robson as the one true conservative in the nationally watched GOP primary. During the short speech, Pence took plenty of shots at the Biden Administration and claimed Robson is the best-prepared candidate to stand up to the Democratic president. “Frankly, Democrats have moved so fast that I think the left-hand doesn’t know what the far left hand is doing,” Pence said. “Crime is skyrocketing in many of our cities. Our children and our grandchildren are facing a mountain range of debt. Arizona needs Karrin Taylor Robson in the state house for such a time as this. When we needed Karrin, Karrin was always there.”

Robson said that she felt honored to be endorsed by the Border Patrol union and that border security is one of her main priorities, alongside “getting left-wing politics out of our schools. Period.” She also addressed critical race theory, calling it a “fight for the soul of our nation” and claiming that recentering parental guidance in their children’s education was a key priority for her planned term in office. “I will fight to make certain that every Arizona family has the right to choose the right school for their children,” said Robson. “Whatever they are we will put parents back in charge of their children’s education. Period.”

Addressing her opponent Kari Lake, Robson said, “Kari Lake wasn’t just a Democrat, she donated to Barack Obama. Kari Lake discovered God, guns and the GOP about five minutes before she decided to run for governor. And Arizona cannot allow a fraud in the governor’s office. Arizona needs a proven leader who understands important issues.”

Pence gave a call to action to those at the rally. “Between now and election day, if Republicans will nominate Karrin Taylor Robson to be our standard bearer in the election I truly believe that history awaits,” he said. “We’re gonna end Nancy Pelosi’s speakership once and for all. Even in these challenging times, we don’t have to accept the future of economic decline and moral decay. With the right leadership in the state house and with renewed Republican majorities, we can begin to lead this country back to everything that made it strong and great.”

Pence also praised Gov. Ducey’s leadership by encouraging those in the room to stand and applaud his service. “400,000 new jobs since 2015, and it didn’t just happen,” he said. “Your governor knows what I know, and what I can tell all of you know. There is only one candidate in this race to lead Arizona even to greater heights and that’s Karrin Taylor Robson.” Continuing his praise, Pence thanked the state of Arizona for its prayers and support while he and President Trump served in the White House together, saying that Robson was there “every step of the way.”

In 2020, Arizona and Georgia were two of Trump’s closest battleground states. The rally for Trump will be one of his last chances to align himself with Republican candidates within the state before the Aug. 2 race.

Both events appear to further emphasize the former president and vice president’s rivalry, especially in light of the recent Jan. 6 hearings. Their seemingly dueling events will likely underscore the Republican party establishment in comparison with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement. Arizona’s Family is also in Prescott Valley, covering the Trump and Lake rally. The rally starts at 4 p.m., and Trump is set to speak at 7 p.m.

Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed reporting from New York.