Republicans won in Arizona while Masters flopped and Lake flounders


Election 2022 Arizona Senate
Blake Masters, left, the Republican candidate for US Senate for Arizona, pauses with Arizona Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake, right, at a campaign rally, in Queen Creek, Ariz., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. Masters will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Ross D. Franklin/AP

Republicans won in Arizona while Masters flopped and Lake flounders

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In case you do not have enough examples of how terrible GOP candidates cost the party the red wave it was expecting in the midterm elections, you need only look at how the results played out in Arizona.

Blake Masters, the GOP candidate for Senate, was evidently one of the worst candidates in the country. The head of a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Masters-booster Peter Thiel that Masters “scored the worst focus group results of any candidate he had ever seen,” according to New York Times reporting. This caused even the billionaire Thiel, who pushed Masters to the nomination, to become “black-pilled” about his chances for “a short period,” according to Jonathan Swan.

Masters, of course, went on to lose his race to Sen. Mark Kelly, who got more votes than the Democratic nominee for governor.


In the governor’s race, Republican Kari Lake may just pull off the victory against Democrat Katie Hobbs (although the numbers don’t look good for her at the time of this writing), but the fact that she hasn’t locked it up is an issue in itself. Lake was likely the politically strongest of the candidates who ran in the image of former President Donald Trump nationwide, and Hobbs was a poor candidate who was too afraid to risk debating Lake (the more television-polished candidate after a career in journalism), and yet it is not certain that she will even win what should have been a cake walk.

But Arizona was also not some Democratic Party haven, and while Lake overperformed Masters, she underperformed other Republicans. That includes state Treasurer Kimberly Yee, who had jumped into the GOP primary for governor that Lake ended up winning. On the same ballot as Lake and Masters, Yee cruised to victory with over 113,000 more votes in her race than Lake. Yee has outperformed Lake in every county in the state.

Even down the ballot, GOP House candidates have outperformed Lake with 93% of the votes in. Both Juan Ciscomani and Rep. David Schweikert are projected to win their races by Decision Desk HQ, and both outran Lake and likely saved the chances of a GOP majority. Even if Lake manages to pull out the win, the race was unnecessarily close and a clear embarrassment.

Regardless of what pet issue you want to blame the losses on, the biggest culprit was clearly the poor crop of candidates Republicans nominated in key races across the country. Neither abortion nor McConnell can be the scapegoat in Arizona, where normal Republicans ran ahead of Masters and Lake. Whether Republicans both in the state and around the country learn that lesson from these races is anyone’s guess.


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