Next year’s U.S. Senate race in Arizona could be one of 2024’s most hotly contested races, potentially pitting Republican and Democratic candidates against each other and incumbent independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema if she seeks reelection. So far, no Republican candidate has entered the race, though.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego is currently the only declared candidate running and Sinema has yet to indicate whether she’ll seek a second term. Who might seek the Republican nomination remains an open question.

Early polling released in February found Gallego winning matchups against several potential Republican contenders with or without Sinema in the race. The race promises to be competitive, with more than 1 in 5 registered voters in the state undecided, according to the poll from OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based market research and data company.

Former Gov. Doug Ducey had a slight advantage against Gallego compared with other potential Republican candidates in the poll, though his slim lead is within the margin of error. Ducey, a former Cold Stone Creamery CEO, turned down an offer to run for U.S. Senate before, though, and he’s made it seem unlikely that he’d consider future runs. Ducey declined Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s invitation to run last year, and in a statement explaining his decision, he wrote, “By nature and by training I’m an executive. And that led me to run for treasurer and ultimately governor instead of seeking federal office.”

Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at an event on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, at Phoenix Christian Preparatory School. | Bob Christie, Associated Press

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb tweeted in February he was “seriously considering running.” Lamb wasn’t included in the poll, but he’s built a national profile since taking office in 2017 for his conservative stance on issues including support for Second Amendment gun rights and stronger border security. He’s spoken out against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and said that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was “about the other issues that have happened — the Hillary Clintons that have gone unpunished.”

Former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, known statewide following last year’s narrow gubernatorial race loss to Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs by around 17,000 votes, has been floated as another potential candidate. At the moment, though, the former Phoenix TV news anchor is still more focused on 2022 than 2024.

Arizona’s Kari Lake hasn’t conceded and has raised millions of dollars since losing
Kari Lake lost tens of thousands of Republican voters. It cost her the election.

Lake has yet to concede her loss, which she’s legally challenging despite no evidence of widespread fraud. The Arizona Supreme Court said it would not review most of Lake’s appeal last week. Lake has continued to hold campaign-style events and as of January, she had raised more than $2.5 million, which she tells supporters she needs to fight last year’s election results.

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Karrin Taylor-Robson, who lost last year’s gubernatorial primary to Lake, and Blake Masters, last year’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate who lost to incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, were also listed in the poll. While Masters hasn’t said if he’s looking to try again for another Senate run, he’s been critical of Gallego, writing on Twitter in early March that if Gallego was concerned about fentanyl he should support stronger border security.

A third party got on the ballot in Arizona for 2024. Could they change the outcome of the election?
Why Arizona’s U.S. Senate race could split Democrats

Arizona voters are roughly split between Democrats, Republicans, and those registered as “other.” The swing state’s divided electorate has been a boon for Democratic candidates who’ve run as center-left moderates to win statewide in recent years against Republican candidates closely aligned with former President Donald Trump. The prospect of a three-way race, though, could potentially complicate Democrats’ recent path to victory.

Sinema’s role in helping to pass bipartisan legislation, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, could help her win over independents and voters who value lawmakers working across the aisle. She could also expect support from members of both major parties, like Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who said he’s open to endorsing her, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who said she imagines she would too.

Arizona had the fourth most expensive U.S. Senate race in 2022, behind only Georgia, Pennsylvania and Florida.

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