Former President Donald Trump endorsed Republican Blake Masters on Thursday in Arizona’s GOP Senate primary to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.
Trump in a statement noted that Masters has also falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen, saying Masters “knows that the “Crime of the Century” took place, he will expose it and also, never let it happen again.” In one campaign campaign video, Masters claimed, “I think Trump won in 2020.”
Already in 2022, Trump-backed Senate candidates have won key Senate primaries: J.D. Vance in Ohio, Herschel Walker in Georgia, Ted Budd in North Carolina and Mehmet Oz presently leads a close Pennsylvania race in the midst of a recount.
Trump also took aim at another candidate in the race, state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, claiming Brnovich did not do enough to address the 2020 election and calling Brnovich “such a disappointment.” Energy executive Jim Lamon is also a top candidate in the race, spending millions of his own money on his campaign.
Who is Blake Masters?
Masters is the chief operations officer to billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s investment firm and the president of his foundation. He first met Thiel as a law student at Stanford University, taking multiple courses taught by the tech entrepreneur. Thiel, who also funded a super PAC to support Vance, has now invested more than $13 million to aid Masters’ Senate candidacy.
A Tucson native, Masters has made at least two trips to Mar-A-Lago in the last year. He held a fundraiser at the Trump property last fall and then attended a viewing with Trump of a movie which outlined alleged schemes to rig the 2020 election.
Masters, who has also been endorsed by the conservative Club for Growth, has said he would wear the label of “hard-right nationalist” as a “badge of honor” if that’s how his positions were to be characterized.
The general election
Whoever wins the GOP Senate primary on Aug. 2 will face a competitive race against Kelly, who is running for a full term after winning a special election to serve out the last two years of the late Sen. John McCain’s term by 2 percentage points in 2020. President Joe Biden carried the Grand Canyon State by less than half a percentage point.
The Cook Political Report rates the Arizona Senate race a Toss Up