Wealthy venture capitalist Blake Masters won the Republican nomination Tuesday night to face U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) in November, narrowly beating his rivals after an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.
Masters, 35, spent most of his career working for billionaire Peter Thiel, who bankrolled his campaign with more than $15 million. His campaign has focused primarily on issues popular among the far right, such as critical race theory and big tech.
But the Masters record has raised eyebrows. As a libertarian college student, Masters is expressed opposed US involvement in World War II and downplayed al-Qaeda as a threat to Americans. He excelled some positions held by Ted Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, who was convicted in 1998 of three murders.
More recently, Masters has criticized the aftermath blaming gun violence on black people and for declaring his support for a national abortion ban in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s overturning of federal abortion rights.
He also appeared to agree with the suggestion that the federal law requiring political candidates to disclose financial donations is similar to Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi attack on Jews.
Meanwhile, Masters’ comments endorsing the privatization of Social Security during a recent debate left some Republican strategists cringing.
A GOP pickup in Arizona would seriously jeopardize Democratic control of the Senate next year.
Kelly, a former astronaut, has been serving in the Senate since 2020 after defeating Republican incumbent Martha McSally in a special election. Although his campaign has raised large sums of money, Kelly is seen as vulnerable amid rising inflation and President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings.
Those macro factors could overcome any shortcomings of GOP candidates like Masters, especially if the 2022 midterms prove to be “red wave” election.