The Arizona Republican Senate race could be heading toward a potentially volatile matchup between candidates Blake Masters and Kari Lake, as both have expressed interest in running.
In 2022, Lake lost to Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs by a slim margin of around 17,000 votes. But she appears interested in jumping in another race.
Lake appeared on NewsNation’s “The Hill” last month and said she is “seriously considering” running for the Arizona Senate seat currently held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an independent.
“I will make that decision by the end of the year,” Lake said.
“We need a senator in Arizona who will put the people of Arizona first, who will put America first, who is not a leftist that votes with Joe Biden 93 to 100% of the times,” she said. “And I think Arizona is ready for that.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Masters, who was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2022 but lost to incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, is planning on announcing his second run for the Senate in coming weeks, according to sources close to him.
But his announcement would set up a matchup against Lake, creating a headache for Republicans who only need to flip a couple of seats to gain control of the Senate. Both Lake and Masters questioned the results of the 2020 election, and have continued to support Trump for president.
Barrett Marson, an Arizona-based GOP strategist, told Politico that Masters has been waiting for Lake to decide whether she will run.
“I think he is now under the impression that maybe Kari Lake isn’t going to run because I’ll tell you if Lake and Blake are both in, he is wasting his time,” he said.
Even though they appeared on the campaign trail together during the last election cycle, this time, they could be gunning for the same seat.
“They occupy the same lane. They have nearly the same name. And she has much better positive name ID among Republicans than Blake does,” said Marson.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee previously backed Sinema but she has since left the Democratic Party. Progressive Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., has already announced his campaign for the seat, so it’s unclear who the committee will throw its support behind.
Since Arizona is split between Democrats, Republicans and independents, a three-way race would likely be competitive. The Arizona Senate race has already been rated as a toss-up by the Cook Political Report.