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Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., at the Capitol on June 9, 2022.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., at the Capitol on June 9, 2022. Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via AP file

Gallego bid kicks off potentially crowded Arizona Senate race

Multiple Republicans are weighing runs for Senate, including two candidates who ran unsuccessful statewide campaigns last year.

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Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego's entrance into the Arizona Senate race kicks off a potentially crowded contest, with candidates in both parties weighing runs.

Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who recently left the Democratic Party, has not yet said if she is running for re-election. Regardless of whether she runs, Arizona is a top target for Republicans next year, who need a net gain of two seats to take control of the Senate, or one seat if the GOP also wins the White House.

Democratic Rep. Greg Stanton passed on a Senate run, but Gallego could still have competition in the Democratic primary, with Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone considered a potential candidate. An ally close to Penzone tells NBC News that “a lot of people have approached him” but, for now, he’s focused on a re-election bid for sheriff in 2024. 

Multiple candidates are also weighing runs on the Republican side, including two who launched unsuccessful statewide runs last year.

Kari Lake, who lost her race for governor, is considered a potential contender. A source close to Lake says she is still “very invested in the legal battle” over the governor’s race. The source suggested, though, that “many people are urging her to run” for Senate.

Two sources close to Republican Blake Masters, who lost his 2022 Senate bid to Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly by 5 percentage points, is “strongly considering” another run.  

Republican Karrin Taylor Robson, who lost the GOP primary to Lake by 5 points last year after spending $20 million of her own money on the race, is seriously considering mounting a Senate run, per a source close to her. Taylor Robson, the person contends, would build a solid coalition of Republicans, including those “McCain Republicans and independents” who voted for Sinema and Kelly in past cycles, referring to the late GOP Sen. John McCain. 

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb could also jump into the GOP primary. Lamb was a featured speaker at rallies for former President Donald Trump and the 2022 slate of GOP candidates last year. An Arizona Republican source says Lamb is still openly considering a Senate run.

Former GOP Gov. Doug Ducey and his allies have been quiet since his departure from office two weeks ago. Ducey declined to run for the Senate in 2022 and allies have long said he’s been reticent toward a run for Congress, noting he views himself as better suited for an executive position.  

It's also unclear if Republican Jim Lamon could jump into the race. Lamon, a solar energy executive, lost the GOP primary to Masters last year after spending $14 million of his own money on the campaign. One source close to Lamon said he has no intention, at this time, of running again for Senate.

But Lamon adviser Stephen Puetz also said in a statement to NBC News, "Jim knows that the right Republican could have beaten Kelly and will get elected to the US Senate in 2024. If a winning candidate emerges, he will strongly back that person — if not, Jim will run in 2024.”