According to The New York Times, Former President Trump reportedly warned Blake Masters that he is likely to lose the Arizona Senate primary to Kari Lake in 2024. This prediction stands in contrast to Trump’s strategy of generally staying out of down-ballot Republican races for the upcoming 2024 election.
Masters previously lost a Senate race in 2022 to Democrat Mark Kelly, while Lake lost the same year’s gubernatorial election to Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs. Although neither Masters nor Lake have officially declared their candidacy for the 2024 election against Senator Kyrsten Sinema, both have been considering potential campaigns.
Sinema’s Senate seat is expected to be highly contested in 2024, with challenges coming from Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego and an anticipated Republican candidate. Sinema has yet to announce whether she plans to seek reelection. Notably, some Democrats have encouraged Sinema to run after polling indicated that in a three-way race between Sinema, Gallego, and Lake, Gallego would emerge as the winner. Furthermore, a separate poll found that Sinema drew more votes from the Republican candidate than from Gallego.
Both Masters and Lake have aligned themselves with the rhetoric of denying the results of the 2020 election, a stance that has led to legal troubles for Trump in recent months. Lake specifically refused to concede the 2022 gubernatorial race and claimed months after Hobbs took office that she was the rightful winner. Masters, on the other hand, distanced himself from these claims to some extent and received criticism from Trump as a result. During a Senate debate, Masters did acknowledge that President Biden rightfully won the 2020 election, prompting Trump to call him shortly after.
During the call captured by Fox News cameras, Trump urged Masters to take a stronger stance on the election denial claims, citing Lake’s success in the face of limited campaign funding. Trump emphasized that Masters should not back down on this issue to maintain support from the Republican base.
Trump’s shift away from endorsing candidates is a response to the minimal success of his endorsements in the 2022 elections. Despite making significant endorsements in Arizona, for both Masters and Lake, as well as in crucial Senate races in Pennsylvania and Georgia, Trump’s chosen candidates did not prevail.
As a result, some Republicans have advised Trump to refrain from endorsing candidates in the upcoming 2024 races, pointing to the failures of his previous endorsements in the 2022 elections.