Arizona GOP Primary Shows Party’s Rightward Turn - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Arizona GOP Primary Shows Party’s Rightward Turn
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Senate Republican hopeful Blake Masters campaigning in Prescott, Arizona, on Jan. 23 (Blake Masters for Senate/YouTube)

On Tuesday, Arizona Republicans nominated venture capitalist Blake Masters to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. In the gubernatorial primary, former TV anchor Kari Lake is leading in the Republican nomination to succeed GOP Gov. Doug Ducey, who could not seek reelection due to term limits. Both have the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

Masters is an acolyte of billionaire Peter Thiel, the PayPal founder who served on Trump’s transition team. Thiel has spent on behalf of other Republicans, notably including Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance, who also received Trump’s backing. As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, Masters held 39 percent of the vote, while solar executive Jim Lamon stood in second place with 28.8 percent support. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was in third place with 18.3 percent support and retired Maj. Gen. Mick McGuire took fourth with 8.7 percent.

Lake only faced one major opponent, Arizona Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson. Robson ran on a more moderate platform than Lake, declining to echo Trump’s claims of fraud regarding the 2020 presidential election. She was endorsed by Ducey and former Vice President Mike Pence. As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, Lake led Robson by just under 2 percentage points, 46.2 percent to 44.4 percent. Former Rep. Matt Salmon was also in the race but dropped out before election day. He endorsed Robson, though his name still appeared on the ballot and received 3.9 percent support.

The Associated Press called Masters’ win early Wednesday morning. While Lake’s race has not been called for her as of the time of publication, Cook Political Report editor David Wasserman said that she was likely to keep her lead as counting continued.

As recently as 2018, the Arizona GOP looked remarkably different. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake were known as moderate Republicans. Both clashed frequently with Trump, with McCain defeating the GOP bill to replace Obamacare. But that year, McCain died and Flake declined to seek reelection. Flake would go on to endorse Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

The Cook Political Report rates Arizona’s Senate and gubernatorial races as toss-ups, meaning that either party could plausibly win them and there is no clear favorite.

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