One of the hottest U.S. Senate races in the country is in Arizona, where Republicans are hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. But they’re wasting all their money during Arizona’s long primary blasting other Republicans, as out-of-state billionaires attempt to put their own candidate in the seat.
Blake Masters, who has spent much of his life as a Libertarian in California working for a Silicon Valley billionaire, Peter Thiel, has just obtained money from three more billionaires; New York’s pro-choice Winklevoss twins who contributed $50,000 each, and $75,000 from Texas libertarian billionaire Andrew Beal. A childhood friend of Masters said Masters convinced him to become pro-choice. Thiel, a Bilderberger who served on the board of Facebook for years, making his ties to Big Tech worrisome, has donated $13.5 million.
Due to the excessive amounts of money, Masters has been able to portray Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a solid conservative with a lengthy history of going after the left — probably suing the Biden administration more than any other public official — as soft. In reality, Brnovich has been constantly targeted by the left due to his principled activism, with Democratic Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs filing 12 bar complaints against him and his staff attorneys over election integrity, which he barely beat.
The types of things Masters says will eventually get him disbarred. While calling Biden a criminal is red meat for the base, attorneys have told me off the record he’s going to be disbarred soon due to remarks like that, and then he’ll be of no use to anyone with a disgraced reputation.
Masters is such an arrogant candidate, constantly bragging about his youth and bashing the other candidates over their age (Brnovich is Gen X), he doesn’t care what damage his mouth is doing. He needlessly turned off black conservatives by declaring that “it’s black people, frankly” who are responsible for shootings. In reality, expanded homicide statistics from the FBI for single victim/single offender cases show that of around 6,500 murders in 2019, 3,218 people were killed by black offenders while 2,948 were killed by white offenders and 874 were killed by Hispanic or Latino offenders. To pin the blame solely on one race is irresponsible for someone who clearly thinks he’s intelligent.
The Rev. Jarrett Maupin, a longtime activist in Phoenix who is now a conservative Republican supporting the meteoric rise of news anchorwoman Kari Lake for governor, told me that it’s a sign Masters is “unstable.” He was furious with Masters’ careless statement. “It’s irresponsible and it’s inflammatory. It’s catering to the worst element, one of the most irresponsible things I’ve seen this primary.” He cited a physical altercation Masters had with a veteran wearing a BLM shirt. “Goaded into violence by the left shows that you are not mature politically.”
Sure enough, that kind of dog whistling is attracting racists. Andrew Anglin, the neo-Nazi publisher of The Daily Stormer, one of the most notorious white supremacist websites, just endorsed Masters. Another racist site, VDare, proudly endorsed him. Jewish Insider flat out portrayed Masters as an antisemite due to multiple incidents, including his use of a “poignant quote” from Nazi leader Hermann Goring in an article Masters wrote stating that that “the U.S. hasn’t been involved in a just war in over 140 years” — an insult to the millions of U.S. troops who lost their lives in World War I and World War II.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump was goaded into endorsing Masters. Thiel similarly got Trump to endorse another candidate he backed, J.D. Vance in Ohio, angering conservatives there who supported the solid conservative Josh Mandel. While most of Trump’s endorsements have been excellent, unfortunately there have been a few questionable ones. Trump’s insiders now say they are wondering if they made a mistake endorsing Masters.
Jim Lamon, a billionaire in the race, is literally giving Masters a run for his money, exposing him in endless TV ads. As a Libertarian, Masters supported open borders and legalizing hard drug dealing, calling hard drug dealers “heroes.” Originally from Alabama, Lamon, who became a billionaire solar industry CEO, has come under fire for “managing a group propped up by Obama’s green energy loans” then founding a “new business partnering with Chinese-controlled solar companies.”
There are two other candidates in the primary race, Mick McGuire and Justin Olson, but they have no chance, polling in single digits. McGuire has the GOP establishment and RINOs backing him, in part due to his loyal support of unpopular Gov. Doug Ducey, failing to challenge any of his lockdowns while an appointee.
If Masters gets the GOP nomination, the Democrats will destroy him due to his needlessly inflammatory, careless statements. The only general election polls show Brnovich performing at least five points better against Kelly than Masters, and ahead of Lamon as well. Kelly has raised and spent more money than all of his GOP competitors combined, and looks on track to raise as much as he did for the 2020 special election, $100 million. Ninety-six percent of the money in the third party PAC supporting Masters comes from three billionaires. Only $190,000 from that PAC has gone toward defeating Kelly.
The bizarre thing about the billionaires portraying Brnovich as a RINO is that he’s considered the Ron DeSantis of Arizona by those who actually know his record. He stepped in and defended Arizona’s election integrity laws when Hobbs wouldn’t, all the way to the Supreme Court and winning. In contrast, his opponents just make statements but never follow through — they’ve never bothered suing the Biden administration or went after Ducey and lefty cities in Arizona legally — things they could have easily done. This all came out at the only primary debate between them. The Week says Masters doesn’t even believe there was election fraud.
Instead, his opponents dishonestly make up lies about Brnovich. Will Arizona’s GOP voters see through the billionaires’ money? The primary is Aug. 2.
Disclaimer: The author worked at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office from 2003-2004 as a line attorney when Mark Brnovich was also a line attorney there.
Editor’s Note: Numbers from the FBI were updated to reflect the full count of homicide victims and offenders as shown in the bureau’s Expanded Homicide Data Table 6 for 2019.