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The Associated Press has called Arizona’s Republican Senate primary for venture capitalist Blake Masters, who will face off in November against Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in a key battleground state race that may determine if the GOP wins back the Senate majority.
Masters was the front-runner in the most recent public opinion surveys heading into Tuesday’s primary election. The field of contenders also included solar power businessman Jim Lamon, who pumped millions of his own money behind his bid.
Also in contention were Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich; retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mick McGuire, who until last year served as adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard; and Justin Olson, a member of Arizona’s public utilities commission.
Master’s primary bid was backed and heavily supported by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, his former boss. Thiel poured $15 million of his own money into an outside super PAC that backed Masters’ campaign.
Former President Donald Trump, who remains the most popular and influential politician in the Republican Party, endorsed Masters two months ago. Masters has strongly backed Trump’s unproven claims that his 2020 election loss to President Biden was due to massive voter fraud. Arizona was one of the key swing states where Biden narrowly edged Trump two years ago.
Trump held a rally in Arizona a week and a half ago on behalf of Masters and the other GOP candidates he endorsed in the state’s primary.
Masters will now face off in November’s midterm elections with Kelly, a former astronaut, whom the GOP views as one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbents running for re-election this year.
But beating Kelly won’t be easy, as the first-term senator is a ferocious fundraiser and can count on a massive campaign war chest.