Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Could Arizona Republicans Blow It Again?

With Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) potentially creating a three-way Senate race in 2024, Republicans have a golden opportunity to win the seat. Well, unless they have a bitter primary and end up nominating a whackadoodle. And to their consternation, they seem to be heading in that direction. Kari Lake and Blake Masters, both of whom lost statewide elections in 2022, are actively exploring a Senate run in 2024. Lake has the problem that she is being investigated for violating Arizona law when she posted people's signatures to her Twitter account. So, if she is essentially forced out, Masters would have a clear shot at the nomination. He already ran for the Senate, so all he has to do is reboot his old campaign. While a Masters campaign wouldn't guarantee a win for Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), it is probably the best thing that could happen for him.

Are national Republicans eagerly waiting for Masters (or Lake) to jump in? Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) isn't. He said: "Any candidate in '24 that has, as their principal campaign theme, a stolen election, is probably going to have the same issues that some of the '22 candidates had." Take that, Lake and Masters! Or maybe not. Caroline Wren, a senior adviser to Lake, shot back that Thune is "everything wrong with the Republican establishment." Then she added that "the Washington cartel is signaling that they're willing to hand an Arizona Senate seat to the radical left."

Arizona used to be Goldwater territory. For decades it elected conservative Republicans up and down the line. But that is changing. Democrats won the last three Senate races, and the most recent races for president, governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Democrats are giddy. Nora Keefe, a spokesperson for the DSCC, said: "In Arizona, Republicans are stuck with a ragtag band of failed candidates."

National Republicans are worried about Masters and Lake but they have little influence. They could push for a moderate, like businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson, who lost the gubernatorial primary to Lake in 2022, but she would probably lose to her again in 2024. The core problem is that Arizona Republicans love the crazies and the crazier they are, the more love they get. There is nothing John Thune or NRSC Chairman Steve Daines (R-MT) can do about that. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates