MEMO: May Primary Takeaways — And What It Means Two Months Out from the #AZSen GOP Primary

To:                Interested Parties
From:           Hannah Goss (
Re:               May Primary Takeaways — And What It Means Two Months Out from the #AZSen GOP Primary
Date:            Thursday, June 2, 2022

TOPLINE: May Primary Takeaways — And What It Means Two Months Out from the #AZSen GOP Primary

With two months to go until Arizona’s August primary date, the “wide open” GOP Senate primary remains virtually unchanged since it began over a year ago. With a Trump endorsement looming large and Mark Brnovich, Jim Lamon, and Blake Masters struggling to break through the “decidedly weak” field of “lesser-known Republicans,” we took a look at last month’s GOP primaries and the role the former president continues to play in these chaotic contests. See below for our top four takeaways and what they mean for Arizona’s GOP Senate primary on August 2nd:

  1. Kingmaker” Donald Trump is making messy primaries even messier:
    • In Pennsylvania: Trump’s backing of Mehmet Oz failed to clear the field, drew nasty infighting, and upped the primary price tag — leaving the field “scrambling” up until Primary Day.
    • In Ohio: Trump’s endorsement of JD Vance created “more chaos,” splitting GOP voters and spurring millions of dollars in spending on attack ads.
    • And in none of these states did Trump’s endorsement clear the primary field.

    • AZ TAKEAWAY: Even when Trump officially endorses in this “wide-open” contest — although that endorsement is reportedly delayed — it’s clear his involvement will only make things worse.
  2. Weak candidates are spending millions to pummel each other on airwaves, all for voters across the state to see:
    • In Ohio: Republican candidates and super PACs spent a whopping $74.5 million attacking each other on airwaves — leaving the eventual nominee badly bruised by Primary Day.
    • In Pennsylvania: Republicans wasted more than $70 million — with at least $18 million coming from the candidates’ personal fortunes — and after all that, the race is headed to a recount.
    • AZ TAKEAWAY: Between Lamon’s personal pledge of $50 million and Peter Thiel’s $13.5 million investment in Blake Masters’ race, this race is already pricey — and we’ve still got two months of spending to go.
  3. Trump’s endorsement does not guarantee victory: 
    • In Georgia: Trump-endorsed David Perdue suffered an embarrassing nearly fifty-point pummeling in the gubernatorial race, and Brad Raffensperger’s victory over a close Trump ally left the former president “stunned.”
    • In Pennsylvania: Instead of gearing up for the general, Trump-backed Mehmet Oz is locked in a messy recount against David McCormick.
    • AZ TAKEAWAY: In this frontrunner-less field of three pro-Trump Republicans, an endorsement from the former president is, by no means, a golden ticket to the general.
  4. Messy primaries are leaving the GOP fractured, disjointed, and poorly positioned for the fall’s statewide general elections:
    • In Pennsylvania: A crowded field combined with an unpopular Trump endorsement left Republicans divided — triggering a close result, a ballot fight that “split the GOP,” and now, an official recount.
    • In North Carolina: A bruising primary left the GOP field fractured — so much so that Pat McCrory has still refused to back nominee Ted Budd.
    • AZ TAKEAWAY: As Masters, Lamon, and Brnovich attack each other in adsat events, and online, it’s clear these rivals will stop at nothing to tear each other apart and crawl out of this primary on top.



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