Senate

Republicans Go “Scorched-Earth” in Arizona’s Nasty GOP Senate Primary

A new report from The Hill highlights that candidates and outside groups in Arizona Republicans’ U.S. Senate Primary are going “scorched-earth” and dumping millions into negative attack ads, with six weeks until the primary election.

The result: The still-“fluid” race between Jim Lamon, Blake Masters, and Mark Brnovich has quickly become much more expensive and deeply negative — and there’s still time for things to escalate further. 

The Hill: Republicans go scorched-earth in Arizona Senate primary

By Tal Axelrod | June 15, 2022

Key Points:

  • “As the race to nominate Sen. Mark Kelly’s (D-Ariz.) GOP opponent hurtles toward its Aug. 2 conclusion, businessman Jim Lamon, former tech executive Blake Masters and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich are throwing elbows and millions of dollars around in a race that polls show remains fluid.”

  • “‘Given the fact that early ballots have not gone out yet, I think there’s still a lot of energy in all of these campaigns where I think they’re going to do everything they can to be successful. It’s shown to date that they’re using the attack strategy,’ said Lorna Romero, an Arizona GOP strategist who worked on the late Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2016 reelection campaign. ‘I think this is just the start of it.’”

  • “Alongside the ads, opposition research dumps appeared almost daily last week, including the unearthing of 17-year-old comments Masters made in which he said a border is just a ‘line in the sand’; remarks from the spring wondering whether the FBI was involved in last year’s Capitol riot; and an interview from April in which he said ‘Black people, frankly,’ are to blame for gun violence.”

  • “‘People want to talk about water. People want to talk about education, not just about the culture war in classrooms,’ Coughlin said. ‘I’d be talking about that narrative. But nobody is currently doing it. I’m waiting to see if somebody opens up the book and starts playing a larger narrative here, but we’ll see.’”

  • “‘You’re spending all your time attacking your primary opponent and then that short shift of you having to go after Mark Kelly. It’s typically a dual approach, a primary and a general strategy,’ Romero, the McCain campaign veteran, said. ‘Whoever comes out of it is going to be bruised and battered, and has spent a lot of money, and [is] going into a very expensive general where they’ve already been defined.’”

Read the full report from The Hill here.

More coverage of Arizona’s GOP U.S. Senate primary:

Daily Beast: The Epic Back-Scratching Fest Between Blake Master and a Trumpy Billionaire

KPHO-TV/KTVK-TV: Arizona Attorney General using consumer fraud funds for politically charged legal fights

Daily Beast: GOP Candidates Can’t Stop Touching the Third Rail of Politics

Phoenix New Times: Amid Attack Ad Allegations, Anti-China Jim Lamon Defends Business Ties There

American Independent: Arizona GOP Senate candidate wants to ‘save’ Social Security by privatizing it

CNN: Audio shows Trump-endorsed Arizona Senate candidate questioned whether January 6 attack was set up by FBI

Jewish Insider: The evolution of Blake Masters

Arizona Republic: US Senate candidate Jim Lamon explains why he falsely claimed to be an Arizona elector

Phoenix New Times: Mark Brnovich Keeps Peddling Vaccine Distrust

Daily Beast: Blake Masters Blames Gun Violence on ‘Black People, Frankly’

American Independent: GOP Senate candidate decries ‘socialist spending binge’ that gave millions to his company

CNN: 2020 election becomes early dividing line for Republicans in crucial 2022 Senate race in Arizona

Politico: The Arizona Republican Caught in a Vise by Trump’s Big Lie