He will face first-term Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in November.
Arizona Republicans chose millionaire venture capitalist Blake Masters on Tuesday to be their 2022 nominee for U.S. Senate, despite his history of overt racism and anti-LGBTQ bigotry.
Masters will face incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in the November midterm elections.
Former President Donald Trump gave Masters his "Complete and Total Endorsement" in the Republican primary race. But even with Trump's backing, Masters only received about 39% of the vote against the rest of the GOP field, including Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and businessman Jim Lamon.
In June, Masters told the right-wing advocacy group FreedomWorks that he would be open to ending Social Security as we know it. In Arizona, roughly 18.3% of residents and 24.5% of voters are over the age of 65, according to U.S. Census data.
"We need fresh and innovative thinking," Masters said. "Maybe we should privatize Social Security, right? Private retirement accounts, get the government out of it."
Masters has repeatedly made bigoted comments.
On April 11, he told the right-wing Jeff Oravits Show podcast that America's gun violence problem was mostly a problem for people of color.
"We do have a gun violence problem in this country, and it's gang violence, right?" he baselessly argued. "It's gangs. It's people in Chicago, St. Louis shooting each other. Very often, you know, Black people, frankly. And the Democrats don't want to do anything about that."
Masters has frequently attacked LGBTQ rights.
He proposed a federal "Don't Say Gay" law based on Florida's bigoted law, claiming "your tax dollars should not fund radical gender ideology and weird sex instruction for children."
He also supports businesses denying service to LGBTQ customers.
He opposes same-sex marriage equality because marriage's "point is procreation and creating children."
Masters promises on his campaign website that he will "crack down on crime," especially "deadly mob violence." But he also touted the endorsement of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who egged on the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol insurrection and then sold campaign coffee mugs commemorating his fist pump to the mobs storming the building.
His campaign has benefited from at least $15 million in super PAC donations from his former boss, the conservative tech billionaire Peter Thiel.
Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and Palantir Technologies, has extensive ties to white nationalists and co-wrote a 1998 book that claimed, "The purpose of the rape crisis movement seems as much about vilifying men as about raising 'awareness.'" Thiel apologized for the "insensitive, crudely argued statements" in 2016.
Political experts rate this fall's Arizona Senate race a "toss-up."
Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), was elected to the Senate in a 2020 special election. He says he is seeking a full term "because Washington is broken and Arizonans deserve independent leadership focused on solving the problems we face."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.