THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: A Recap of Trump’s Domineering Role in the #AZSen Primary

For Immediate Release
Friday, July 22, 2022
Contact: Hannah Goss,
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: A Recap of Trump’s Domineering Role in the #AZSen Primary 
From the Ducey No-Go to Blake’s Bump, Trump Has Loomed Large All Along

PHOENIX — Throughout the GOP Senate primary, Trump has largely been regarded as the single most important outside actor in the “combustible” contest. Ahead of his upcoming Arizona rally, we put together a rundown to recap his role in the race:

DO YOU GET DEJA VU?: Six months ago, Trump touched down in Arizona to rally his MAGA base and make it clear that spreading his election conspiracies would be the ultimate “purity test” for his support. Brnovich, Masters, and Lamon all cheered him on adoringly and took shots at each other over who best backed his lies…little did we know, this was just the beginning.

THE DUCEY DODGE: Then in March, after months of bullying from Trump for certifying the 2020 election in Arizona, Doug Ducey devastated the likes of Mitch McConnell and other Washington Republicans when he announced he would not be running for U.S. Senate. His no-go left a “decidedly weak” field of “lesser-known Republicans” in a “bitter battle for the nomination” with “Trump loom[ing] large.”

THE ENDORSEMENT RACE: For almost a year, the desperate rivals left no stone unturned (and no dollar unspent) to get the supposed “kingmaker’s” attention. Masters’ dolled out $30k for a Mar-A-Lago fundraiser, Brnovich used a picture with Trump for a thirsty fundraising plea, and Lamon wasted money targeting a TV ad buy near Trump’s Bedminster golf club. These candidates fought on TV, in print, online, and at events to prove their fealty to Trump — all while ignoring the very voters they were running to represent.

THE SLOW, AND ULTIMATE, BRN: Seven months after caving to pressure from Trump and launching his investigation into the 2020 election, Brnovich released his “interim report” that “did not provide proof of any major issues.” Turns out, Brnovich’s gross abuse of power was a major miscalculation and triggered attacks from the far-right fringes of the AZ GOP for not going far enough to spread election lies. In response, Trump slammed the door on a potential endorsement of Brnovich’s candidacy, narrowing his pick down to Lamon and Masters.

AN “ASTERISK” NO MORE: In early June, Blake Masters’ billionaire benefactor and known Trump ally Peter Thiel was finally able to land his protege a seat at the Mar-A-Lago adult’s table, convincing Trump to back his boy. As a result, the former tech bro went from a “newcomer” to the potential GOP nominee, all while wracking up cred as “one of the most politically extreme GOP Senate candidates” with “some of the farthest-right stances,” including banning abortion, privatizing Social Security, opposing same-sex marriage, parroting “replacement theory,” and sowing doubt in our elections — past and future.

THE MEGA MAGA AD WAR: Trump’s endorsement of Masters only made this messy primary messier, triggering rampant infighting and a $15 million (and climbing) intra-primary ad war that continues to dominate Arizonan airwaves. As both Masters and Lamon run ads around Trump in an effort to capture MAGA primary voters, it looks as though this primary is going to end just as it started: with Trump as “the man at the center of Arizona’s [Senate] primary.”


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