Arizona Republicans poised to nominate anti-abortion candidate for governor

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GOP front-runners Kari Lake and Karrin Taylor Robson oppose abortion rights, unlike the majority of Arizona voters.

According to the results of a poll released Monday, more than half of voters in Arizona oppose the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization on June 24 that overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision affirming a constitutional right to abortion.

The poll, conducted July 5-15 by OH Predictive Insights, found that 45% of registered voters in the state strongly oppose the Supreme Court's move.

Despite the poll's findings, Republicans in Arizona are poised to nominate a gubernatorial candidate on Aug. 2 who opposes abortion rights in nearly all cases.

Both of the frontrunners seeking the GOP nomination — former TV news anchor Kari Lake and businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson — cheered the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs.

In a post on her campaign website, Robson describes herself as "a decades-long member of the pro-life movement," and prior to the official release of the court's decision, she tweeted: "Roe vs. Wade was a flawed decision when it was originally written, and if this new opinion holds, it accurately reflects this is a state issue. Arizona is a pro-life state, and as Governor I will work with our state legislature to guarantee the right to life for the unborn."

Lake said in a statement released after the decision was published:

Today is a historic day for life, and humanity, throughout this country. Laws on the right to life will now be decided at the state level, and as the next governor of Arizona, I will sign bills to protect life when they land on my desk. I want to give a special thank you to President Trump who appointed three Supreme Court Justices, all of whom bravely voted to strike down Roe vs. Wade today and give the Pro-life movement, the unborn, and all of our great country the gift of protecting life that so many have worked so long to achieve.

OH Predictive Insights' poll results show 52% of Arizonans opposed to the Supreme Court decision that both Lake and Robson celebrated.

Just 33% of Arizonans support overturning Roe v. Wade. Some 38% of Republican women ages 18-54 oppose the reversal.

Voters in the state overwhelmingly oppose an abortion ban in Arizona that was passed in 1901, which makes it a crime to facilitate or perform an abortion punishable by up to five years in prison. The state's attorney general, Republican Mark Brnovich, wants to enforce the law, but GOP Gov. Doug Ducey says a newer law in the state that bans abortion after 15 weeks gestation supersedes it. The 15-week ban is set to go into effect in September.

Twenty-eight percent of voters support the 1901 law, while 52% oppose it, according to the poll.

Both Robson and Lake would go further than the 15-week abortion ban that Ducey supports. The candidates both said they hope the Arizona Legislature will pass a law similar to one in Texas that bans abortions at around the six-week gestation mark, even in the case of rape or incest, and allows ordinary citizens to sue doctors who they believe may be performing abortions after that time. Because pregnancy is calculated from the date of a person's last missed period, six weeks' gestation is about two weeks after a missed period — before many people even know they are pregnant.

"I call on the Arizona Legislature to put a carbon copy of Texas S.B.8 on the Governor's desk," Lake's campaign tweeted in 2021 after Texas' ban was enacted. "If my Predecessor refuses to sign it, I will do so in a Heartbeat."

Robson praised Texas' law, calling it "a huge step forward in protecting women and children from the horrors of abortion." Her campaign tweeted after the leak of a draft of the Dobbs decision in May, "If this opinion holds, and I pray that it does, I will do everything in my power as Governor to make sure Arizona is the most pro-life state in the union."

Lake and Robson will face off in the Aug. 2 Arizona primary.

Polling shows Lake ahead of Robson, with an OH Predictive Insights poll released on July 6 finding Lake with a 5-point lead.

However, the race has tightened in recent weeks, as Lake — who has former President Donald Trump's endorsement — has been criticized by Republicans over her past support of former President Barack Obama and the LGBTQ community.

Republicans such as Ducey and former Vice President Mike Pence are trying to stop Lake from winning the primary, believing she is less electable than Robson. Polling backs up those fears, with a recent TargetSmart survey showing likely Democratic nominee Katie Hobbs with a larger lead over Lake than over Robson.

Inside Elections currently rates the race a toss-up.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.