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The Associated Press has called Arizona’s Republican Senate primary for venture capitalist Blake Masters, who in November will face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in a key battleground race that could determine whether the GOP regains a majority. in the Senate.
Masters was the frontrunner in the final public opinion polls ahead of Tuesday’s primary election. The field of suitors also included solar energy businessman Jim Lamon, who pumped millions of his own money behind his bid.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was also in the running; retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mick McGuire, who until last year served as the Arizona National Guard’s adjutant general; and Justin Olson, member of the Arizona Public Utilities Commission.
Master’s main offer was backed and strongly backed by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, its former boss. Thiel poured $15 million of his own money into an outside super PAC that supported the Masters campaign.
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Former President Donald Trump, who remains the Republican Party’s most popular and influential politician, 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 out Trump two years ago.
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Trump held a rally in Arizona a week and a half ago on behalf of the Masters and the other GOP candidates he backed in the state’s primary.
Masters will now face Kelly, a former astronaut, in November’s midterm elections, whom the GOP considers one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbents vying for re-election this year.
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But beating Kelly won’t be easy, as the first-term senator is a fierce fundraiser and has a massive campaign war chest to rely on.