A charismatic Republican venture capitalist from Tucson, Arizona is considering a run against Republican Senator Martha McSally in the Republican-leaning state’s primaries next year.
Blake Masters confirmed to the Arizona Republic on Wednesday that he has been mulling a run for months, and “is in the final stages of deciding whether he will enter the race.”
The first time candidate has reportedly run polls and held meetings with political and business groups, both locally and nationwide as part of his deliberation process.
“We need to keep this seat Republican,” Masters, 33, told The Republic. “And we need a GOP that puts voters before donors. Martha McSally lost a winnable race last year. If I come to believe that she can’t win next November, I’ll run.”
Masters told American Greatness that conservatives can do better.
“Americans want dignified work, healthy families, and strong communities,” he said in a text message. “They deserve political leaders who will fight for those things. That means securing the border; getting affordable medical care to every citizen who needs it; taking on the higher education racket; stopping stupid foreign wars; and prioritizing quality of life and high-paying jobs rather than cheap imports and ever-higher profits for the Fortune 500, which never seem to benefit the middle class.”
Masters added that “this is possible — but only if conservatives stop playing defense and step up to take responsibility for our shared future.”
After losing to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, McSally was appointed to interim Senator Jon Kyl’s seat. Kyl stepped down from the late Republican Sen. John McCain’s seat in December of 2018. McCain’s term ends in 2022, but McSally must win the November 2020 special election for the right to serve out the final two years.
McSally is a weak candidate. She lost to Sinema in a year when Republican Governor Doug Ducey won his re-election by 15 points. Her Democrat opponent Mark Kelly has already outraised her by millions according to FEC filings, and will probably continue to do so as big donors seem to be lukewarm towards her. Campaign donors to McCain have reportedly flipped to Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords.
McSally has a reputation as a lazy campaigner who doesn’t connect with people or do many events. According to one Republican insider, during her race against Sinema last year, she insisted on sleeping at home in Tucson every night during the campaign, resulting in far fewer events than her opponent.
Despite a “complete and total endorsement” from President Donald Trump, McSally already has one conservative primary challenger, businessman Daniel McCarthy “who is questioning McSally’s loyalty to the president and conservative policies,” according to the AZ Republic.
Conservatives in Arizona fear that McSally—who is trailing or even with Kelly in the polls—is on track to lose two winnable Republican Senate seats in two years.
Masters is a highly accomplished businessman who grew up in Arizona, lived in California for several years, and returned to Arizona last year.
He is married his high school sweetheart and has two children.
The entrepreneur is president of the Thiel Foundation, a private foundation created and funded by Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist who co-founded PayPal. Masters is also Chief Operating Officer at Thiel Capital and co-founder of Judicata, a technology startup that makes legal research and analytics software.
His book, Zero to One, co-written with Thiel, was a #1 NYT bestseller about the economics and philosophy of small business.
Masters says in his bio that his “overarching professional goal has always been to find the most interesting work possible and to do it well.” He would be bring that philosophy to his campaign, according to American Greatness editor Chris Buskirk.
Buskirk, a friend of Masters, told the AZ Republic that he expects the Masters to run an “impressive” campaign.
“He’s going to run a very ideas-oriented campaign about how to rebuild the middle class, about the threat from China … I think those things are really compelling to people,” Buskirk said. “Those are your basic sort of kitchen-table issues and he’s got good ideas about them and I think people will be duly impressed.”