- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday he’ll back the Republican nominee for president - even if it is Donald Trump.

The Republican governor’s comments came as national Republicans search for an option to derail Trump’s momentum after wins in the Super Tuesday primaries added to his delegate lead.

Ducey said that what’s important to him is defeating Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, the Democrats in the race.

“I don’t want to see another four or eight years of the policies of Barack Obama,” Ducey told reporters. “That’s very important to me.”

Ducey said that even after Trump won seven states in the Super Tuesday primaries, he believes the billionaire businessman doesn’t have the GOP nomination sewn up. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won three states, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio picked up one state.

“It seems that it’s still wide open,” Ducey said. “There’s a lot of time left, so I’m going to welcome all the candidates to the state of Arizona as they pursue the nomination. But I’m going to stay focused on my day job along the way.”

Arizona holds its primary election on March 22, and early ballots have already been mailed to voters. Ducey said he will not endorse any Republican candidate in the primaries.

On Tuesday night, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said publicly what many Republicans have been quietly saying for weeks - that Trump will be handily beaten by Clinton in a head-to-head race. Ducey didn’t agree.

“Lindsey Graham speaks for himself, and I’m confident that there’s a path to victory for the Republican Party in the presidential race,” he said.

The first-term governor was hesitant to speak of the national race, which has divided many establishment Republicans who are disheartened that Trump has been beating mainstream GOP candidates in early primaries. He acknowledged participating in a conference call with other Republican governors earlier this week where Trump’s candidacy was discussed.

“Of course I’m going to keep in confidence what others are saying and thinking,” Ducey said. “But there was discussion as to how we best present our candidate in the fall in opposition to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.”

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