Republicans Pick Thiel Protégé Blake Masters To Challenge Arizona Senator Mark Kelly

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 30: Republican candidate for Senator Blake Masters listens to supporters during a campaign event on July 30, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Candidates continue campaigning across the state with Ari... PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 30: Republican candidate for Senator Blake Masters listens to supporters during a campaign event on July 30, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Candidates continue campaigning across the state with Arizona's primary election being less than one week away. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Blake Masters won the GOP Senate primary Tuesday in Arizona, and is set to face off against incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ). 

Masters beat out businessman Jim Lamon and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R).

Masters ran a sometimes menacing campaign that leaned hard into conspiracy theories. He made an explicit endorsement of the Great Replacement theory part of his regular campaign fare, while staking out a position in favor of reducing legal immigration.

The former chief operating officer of billionaire investor Peter Thiel’s hedge fund, Masters has been involved with Thiel on more than just the business side. The two are ideologically sympatico, with Masters fusing Thiel’s signature combination of pro-big business libertarianism and America-only nationalism into the core of his campaign. 

He’s a writer, too. Masters co-wrote a book with Thiel in 2014 composed of notes taken during a class that Thiel taught on how to build startups. It wasn’t Masters’ first brush with the pen, however. As an undergraduate at Stanford, the aspiring senator frequently posted on an online chatroom for the workout program CrossFit and on an obscure libertarian forum blaming the “Houses of Morgan and Rothschild” for the U.S.’s entry into World War I, while also remarking that the “hot button issue of the Holocaust” made it more difficult to argue against U.S. involvement in World War II — “(nevermind that our friend Stalin murdered over twice as many as Hitler … why do we gloss over that in schools?)” he added. 

While the young Thielite has sought to cast himself as a new brand of right-wing Republican, some of his proposals are familiar: He wants to privatize Social Security, for example.

On a key issue in the 2022 midterms, the right to an abortion, he has espoused a position in line with his strident persona, calling for a nationwide abortion ban in the form of a federal fetal personhood law.

He has also capitalized on Trump’s efforts to discredit the 2020 election, earning the former President’s endorsement after releasing an ad claiming that “Trump won in 2020.” That set him apart from an ealry top competitor, Brnovich, who, despite campaign-trail efforts to out-Trump Masters, had accepted the results of the 2020 election.

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