June 17, 2022 Press Releases

ICYMI: “Republicans Go Scorched-Earth In Arizona Senate Primary”

“Whoever comes out of it is going to be bruised and battered”

PHOENIX — Yesterday, The Hill published a rundown of the “increasingly bloody” GOP Senate primary, breaking down the “slugfest” which, according to operatives, is “just getting started.”

Six weeks out from primary day, Brnovich, Lamon, and Masters are “throwing elbows and millions of dollars around in a race that polls show remains fluid,” eliciting a storm of opposition research, a slew of aggressive attack ads, and the promise of more to come.

What’s more: As the messy “three-way scrum” gets even messier, many GOP strategists are becoming increasingly worried that their “ultimate nominee will be too bloodied after the late primary,” leaving Republicans poorly positioned to compete come November.

 

Read the full piece here, or see below for key excerpts:

  • Lamon has dumped millions of his own dollars going scorched-earth against Masters over his ties to PayPal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel after Masters scored former President Trump’s endorsement earlier this month. 
  • Outside groups backing Masters, like the Club for Growth and a well-heeled super PAC seeded by $13.5 million of Thiel’s money, are responding in kind. And Brnovich is hanging on as Trump harangues him for not overturning his defeat in the state in 2020.   
  • What had already been a contentious primary turned into a slugfest this month after Trump endorsed Masters, handing the protege of his ally, Thiel, a key boost.  
  • Lamon, who had already loaned his campaign $13 million in total through the end of the first quarter of 2022, last week released a blistering ad casting Masters as a “fake” and a “puppet” with “Big Tech pulling his strings.”
  • 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.  
  • The pro-Masters super PAC accused Lamon’s business of having ties to China and of opposing Trump’s foreign policy, while Club for Growth released another ad suggesting Lamon is a secret Democratic sympathizer.  
  • The GOP infighting follows what is increasingly becoming a common theme of Republican primaries. “If it follows form, which it appears to be doing, a Republican primary is a race to the bottom, and this should be a really great example of that.” 
  • “I think they’re very effective,” a GOP strategist supporting Lamon said of the attacks so far. “Frankly, it’s only going to get more aggressive as time goes on.”  “A lot of this hasn’t happened yet,” the source added. 
  • “It’s a three-way scrum right now between Lamon, Masters and Brnovich. Any one of those could come out on top,” said one GOP strategist based in the West.  
  • But while the candidates duke it out to collect support from undecided voters, some Republicans are voicing concerns that their ultimate nominee will be too bloodied after the late primary and aren’t focusing on a message that appeals to a purple state general electorate.  
  • “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.”

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