PHOENIX – Blake Masters, an ally of billionaire investor Peter Thiel, launched his July 12 campaign for the Republican nomination to challenge the Democratic US senator. Mark Kelly of Arizona.
Masters, who grew up in Tucson and moved back to southern Arizona in 2018, is a senior executive at Thiel’s investment firm and foundation. This is his first candidacy for a political mandate.
appearing in a announcement video Along with his wife and three young boys, Masters says America needs to end the border wall, enforce the law and build an economy where families can live on one income.
“I’m afraid we’re losing the country,” Masters told The Associated Press. “I want my children to grow up in an America that functions like the one I grew up in. I want them to grow up in a country that I still recognize.”
Masters joins a packed group of Republicans looking to take on Kelly in one of the top U.S. Senate races of 2022, which will help determine which party controls the upper house of Congress.
He gained notoriety in some circles for his detailed notes on a course Thiel taught at Stanford University. They then collaborated on the 2014 book, “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future,” and Masters went to work for Thiel. He became COO of Thiel Capital and Chairman of the Thiel Foundation, positions he has always held.
Thiel was a top donor in 2016 for President Donald Trump’s campaign and is expected to spend millions to support the Masters campaign through an independent super PAC. But Masters said he would not be beholden to his boss and political benefactor, saying he would never grant special favors and would be “one of the most independent senators”.
“I do what I think is right,” Masters said. “I think Peter and I agree on a lot of things. He obviously sees something in me. I’m grateful to him for that.”
He was highly critical of big tech companies, the H-1B visas they use to bring in workers from overseas, and targeted advertising, the business model behind billions of dollars in revenue from giants like Facebook and Google. He ideologically described himself as “a premier American conservative,” using the phrase Trump popularized with much of the GOP base.
Trump’s endorsement, if he gives one, will be an influential and potentially deciding factor in the Republican primary.
Masters said he supports the ongoing review of ballots in Maricopa County conducted on behalf of legislative Republicans, led by a Trump supporter who promoted the former president’s unsubstantiated election conspiracy theories.
RELATED: Arizona election audit enters new phase as vote count ends
When asked if he believed Democratic President Joe Biden was the rightful winner of the election 2020Deviated masters.
“He’s certainly been sworn in, so in that sense he’s the president,” Masters said. “I don’t know what happened in the 2020 election. I don’t know what happened with all the ballots and the whole certification process in the four or five key states with very wide margins. tight. I think anyone who says they know for sure has an agenda.”
Election experts say the 2020 vote count was safe and accurate.
Masters considered challenging Republican Senator Martha McSally last year, scaring off some GOP members who feared he would weaken the incumbent ahead of the general election, but chose not to run. McSally lost to Kelly, who is now finishing the late Sen. John McCain’s term and seeking his own six-year term.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich, solar contractor Jim Lamon and former Arizona National Guard chief Michael McGuire are also seeking the Republican nomination.
Kelly is a retired astronaut who rose to prominence following an assassination attempt that injured his wife, former US Representative Gabby Giffords. He was one of the most successful Democrats to run statewide in Arizona, beating McSally by 2.4 points last year even as Democratic President Joe Biden won by just 0.3. point and that Republicans have been successful in lesser-known races.
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