Yes, Arizona Republicans May Run A Right-Wing Dead Head Hated By Trump For The Senate
So far this cycle-- as of March 31-- Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) had raised $37,504,381 for his reelection campaign. He had over $23 million in cash on hand. The Arizona Senate race is expected to be one of the toughest and tightest and most expensive of the cycle. Kelly isn't as conservative as Kyrsten Sinema, but he's a conservative Democrat who turns off lots of progressive voters. If he loses the seat, the Democrats probably have no path to keeping the Senate majority.
All the most recent public polls show Kelly narrowly beating each of his potential Republican opponents, although Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich comes closest to beating him. Kelly leads each of these top tier opponents:
Mark Brnovich- Kelly +4
Michael McGuire- Kelly +7
Jim Lamon- Kelly +7
Blake Masters- Kelly +9
And the most recent OH Predictive Insights poll (April 5) shows Brnovich ahead in the primary, unless you count "unsure," many of whom may be waiting for Trump to tell them who to vote for:
Mark Brnovich- 21%
Jim Lamon- 16%
Blake Masters- 9%
Michael McGuire- 6%
Justin Olsson- 3%
None of the Republicans have raised as much as Kelly but it is expected that most of the money spent in this race will be spent by independent groups, not candidates. Here's the amounts raised (and March 31 cash on hand) for each of the Republicans:
Jim Lamon- $13,832,491, self funded ($7,176,301)
Blake Masters- $3,729,04 ($2,253,009)
Mark Brnovich- $2,536,673 ($528,960)
Michael McGuire- $2,074,230 ($993,962)
Justin Olsson- $275,538 ($143,840)
As you can see, Kelly has outraged the entire field combined-- and gigantically. It barely matters. Once a Republican nominee is chosen, unlimited money will flood into the race on his behalf-- unlimited. Some people are predicting that it will be the most money spent in a Senate race in history. One German-born, neo-Nazi billionaire, Peter Thiel, has pledged $10,000,000 for his boy, Blake Masters, and has already spent $4,470,141. On top of that, Thiel is offering Trump an undisclosed bribe to buy his endorsement for Masters, just as he did last week-- successfully-- for J.D. Vance in Ohio.
Trump-- who has no midterm strategy other than making himself look prescient and powerful and for self-enrichment-- has already begun to make the case for denying the nomination to Brnovich, the Republican with the best shot at beating Kelly. Last night, the Arizona Republic reported that Trump attacked Brnovich again-- he's done so half a dozen times-- for not having overturned the election. This was the whiny bitch's statement last month:
Last night Trump claimed that "he did a report, and he recites some of the many horrible things that happened in that very dark period of American history but, rather than go after the people that committed these election crimes, it looks like he is just going to 'kick the can down the road' and stay in that middle path of non-controversy." Brnovich, Señor Trumpanzee continued, "wants to be politically correct. Because of the amount of time that it took him to do the report, which was endless, his poll numbers have been rapidly sinking... The good news is Arizona has some very good people running for election to the U.S. Senate. I will be making an Endorsement in the not too distant future!
Last month, writing for Politico, Hank Stephenson, co-founder of the Arizona Agenda, >reported that Brnovich "faces a squeeze familiar to high-profile Republican state officials across the country. With Trump unwilling to let go of the lie he won the election, and the GOP base passionately defending his claims, Republicans who actually hold office-- and who have to operate within the rules and norms of government-- face a disadvantage with many of their own voters. Most Republican candidates just have to pledge allegiance to Trump’s election lies to prove loyalty to their national leader. Brnovich is tasked with executing on them. And legally, he has to tell Trump, 'No.'"
“He desperately needs that Trump voter, however extreme they might be,” says Emily Ryan, a Republican lobbyist in Arizona. “And with the extreme right of the party, Brnovich can’t legally go far enough to satisfy them. But any Republican primary opponent can just say what they would do and bring a more satisfactory answer to the mob.”
Trumpian Republicans have a specific complaint about Brnovich right now: He has done nothing with a batch of “findings” prepared by the Cyber Ninjas, the now-defunct company that the Republican-controlled state Senate hired to audit the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County. The report was replete with innuendo but didn’t actually declare any charges were warranted for election fraud, let alone provide sufficient evidence to win a prosecution. In fact, the audit reaffirmed that Biden beat Trump in Arizona. Brnovich has parked the investigation in his office, and there’s no sign it’s wrapping up anytime soon.
Republicans who believe the election was stolen have been raising the pressure on Brnovich ever since... So far, Brnovich has taken what looks like the path of least resistance, politically: He won’t endorse Trump’s Big Lie, or prosecute people over it, but he’s not loudly refuting it either. In interviews, he mostly tries to sidestep the issue. To burnish his Trumpian credentials he has sought to ingratiate himself with the former president and his supporters in other ways, like embracing hard-line border policies.
Here's the first of the Peter Thiel attack ads running on Arizona TV against Brnovich, pushing his boyfriend, Blake (and insinuating he already has Trump's endorsement):