Matt Salmon’s exit from the governor’s race is a disaster for Kari Lake

Opinion: Matt Salmon’s withdrawal from the Arizona governor’s race is great news for Karrin Taylor Robson and a potential disaster for Kari Lake.

By Laurie Roberts |Arizona Republic

Matt Salmon announced he is leaving the Arizona governor’s race – which is great news for Republicans.

With just eight days to go until early ballots go in the mail, Matt Salmon finally embraced reality and dropped out of the Republican race for Arizona governor.

This is great news for Karrin Taylor Robson and for Republicans hoping to hang onto the Governor’s Office.

For Kari Lake, hoping to eek out a win in a three-person race? Call it a potential disaster.

I say potential because Salmon waited about two months too long to withdraw. At this point, his name is already on the Aug. 2 ballot.

Salmon tried to out-Lake Kari Lake. Big mistake

Salmon’s announcement, however, hinted that a Taylor Robson endorsement isn’t far off.

“Republican primary voters deserve more than having their votes split on August 2nd, and so I am leaving this race for the same reason that I entered it: Because it is what’s best for the people of Arizona,” he said in a statement.

Salmon, a former congressman who came within a hair’s breadth of defeating then-Attorney General Janet Napolitano in the 2002 governor’s race, made a fatal error this year.

He tried to out-Kari Lake Kari Lake.

It didn’t work, probably because that’s just not possible. Also because he’s really a principled conservative, a serious policy guy more comfortable talking about low taxes and how to grow the economy than in slinging dripping slabs of rare red meat to the MAGA crowd.

Lake, meanwhile, is running a campaign fueled by perpetual outrage. 

But after a year of running, a bazillion attacks on the media and increasingly angry rants about everything from alien “invaders” to drag queens to a supposedly stolen election, support for Lake stands at a solid 30%-35% of likely voters.

Kari Lake may be the hope and the pride of the angry far right, but the rest of the party isn’t buying what she’s selling.

Lake is Hobbs’ best chance of winning in November.

Taylor Robson, meanwhile, is catching up in the polls and has the money to go the distance in what now amounts to a one-on-one race.


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