Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters is getting more help from independent, outside conservative groups after GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell abandoned the ripe opportunity for a pivotal pick-up to reclaim the majority.
The Frontiers of Freedom Action (FFA) super PAC dropped a new ad campaign this month defining Masters’s incumbent Democratic opponent as a left-wing creature of the beltway swamp who is key to President Joe Biden’s radical agenda.
The six-figure ad buy in the Phoenix media market highlights Sen. Mark Kelly’s role in a 50-50 chamber voting to introduce “shattering inflation” from runaway spending and high power prices from canceled energy projects. According to a tracker from FiveThirtyEight, Kelly has voted with President Biden more than 94 percent of the time, becoming one of the administration’s reliable allies in the split Senate.
The campaign from Frontiers of Freedom Action comes in the form of two ads: one running for two minutes, and another for 60 seconds.
George Landrith, the president of the super PAC, told The Federalist the ads were launched two weeks ago in response to McConnell’s decision to gut resources from one of the most competitive races this election cycle. In the last week of August, McConnell’s super PAC to reclaim the Senate majority, the Senate Leadership Fund, canceled nearly $8 million worth of ad buys set to boost Masters. The week prior, McConnell undermined Republicans in tight contests by complaining on Fox News that voters nominated poor candidates.
“We went in right after he pulled out,” Landrith said. “One, [Masters] can win, and two, he’s a fine candidate because he’s going to stand up for the things people believe in.”
During the Arizona Republican Senate primary, the venture capitalist candidate pledged not to support McConnell, now 80, for another term in GOP leadership.
On Wednesday, Axios revealed McConnell would be slashing an additional $10 million from the Arizona Senate race just more than a month from Election Day.
“The cancellations mean that the GOP’s leading super PAC won’t be spending any money in Arizona, one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country,” Axios reported, adding that McConnell’s allies are “confident other outside conservative groups will make up much of the difference.”
The $7.5 million tallied from outside groups compiled by Axios, however, remains far short of the $18 million now stricken from Republicans’ effort to pick up a vulnerable Senate seat from a state which, before Kelly, had not been represented by two Democrat senators since 1953. In 2020, President Biden carried Arizona by less than 11,000 votes. The latest major poll in the contest comes from the Trafalgar Group showing Kelly with only a two-point lead, with Masters within striking distance. The Trafalgar Group emerged as one of the most reliable pollsters of the prior two election cycles.
Landrith made clear his group was going to get involved in the Arizona Senate race regardless of the moves by Republican leadership, but called McConnell’s reliance on outside groups to bring Masters across the finish line a “shame.”
“If you don’t show up, you lose,” Landrith said. “We’re not going to do that. Blake Masters is going to be a great U.S. senator. We’re not going to leave him without help.”
After McConnell’s August cancellation of Arizona Senate ads, another independent super PAC affiliated with Heritage Action for America announced an infusion of $5 million into the race.
Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America and president of the Sentinel Action Fund, told The Federalist her group’s spending spree was a “clarion call for the conservative movement to come and support this candidate.”