Pivotal Arizona Senate Race Up for Grabs
By Joe Guzzardi
A review of the 50 GOP United States Senators shows that only one is solidly committed to more sustainable immigration levels. Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn, whose congressional career began in 2003 in the U.S. House of Representatives, has at various times voted to reduce chain migration, asylum fraud and anchor baby citizenship, as well as to end the visa lottery, sanctuary cities and executive amnesties.
Another group of about 20 GOP senators has mostly strong pro-U.S. workers and immigration enforcement positions. The most well-known among them include Ted Cruz (Texas) and Tom Cotton (Ark.). At the other end of the GOP spectrum, three senators have immigration voting records more akin to their Democratic colleagues: Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine).
With the mid-term election stakes high, Republicans need to pull out all the stops to place unmistakably strong enforcement candidates first on the ballot and then send them on to Washington, D.C. In Arizona, such a primary race is shaping up. Arizona is a state so beleaguered by the open border agenda that residents have taken to placing BLM stickers on their cars’ bumpers. In their case, however, BLM stands for “Biden Loves Minors.”
The August 2 Republican Senate primary will divulge whether the BLM stickers are a true indication of Copper State residents’ anger or just for show. The three contenders are Attorney General Mark Brnovich, business executive Jim Lamon, and venture capitalist Blake Masters. The winner will face off against Arizona’s junior Sen. Mark Kelly who won a special election to replace deceased John McCain. Kelly became Arizona’s first Democratic Senator since Dennis DeConcini was elected in 1976.
Kelly’s background is compelling. As a naval aviator, Kelly flew combat missions during the Gulf War before being selected as a NASA Space Shuttle pilot in 1996. He flew four space missions, his last in 2011 as commander of Space Shuttle Endeavour, its final mission. Kelly’s wife, then-Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, was shot and gravely injured in a 2011 assassination attempt. The mass shooting took six lives and wounded 18.
The primary outcome won’t turn on the candidates’ personal histories though, but rather on Arizona’s border crisis. Streams of illegal immigrants have been videotaped walking unchecked into Yuma. To date in fiscal year 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seized around 1,300 pounds of drugs in the Tucson and Yuma sectors, mostly methamphetamine and fentanyl. Yuma Mayor Douglas J. Nicholls said that drug traffickers who make it past CBP are “frequently” caught in his community. Nicholls said that 50 percent of the fentanyl that kills one American every eight and a half seconds “is coming through Arizona’s border.”
Kelly’s congressional voting record on border security is abysmal and indefensible. His votes against Remain in Mexico, against border fence funding, against interior enforcement, and against ending catch and release give his primary opponents fodder to challenge Kelly on a subject that deeply concerns Arizonans.
While all the Republican primary candidates have the familiar talking points about securing the border and enforcing immigration laws, Masters goes further. Since he announced his candidacy, Masters went on record that he wants to cut legal immigration by half – to about 500,000 annually – reform chain migration and abolish unnecessary guest worker visas. Masters, an associate of PayPal founder Peter Thiel, said that he’s open to eliminating the cheap labor H-1B visa which corporations have used to displace millions of American white-collar workers.
The latest Real Clear Politics polling has Masters leading Brnovich, his closest rival, by ten points, but trailing Kelly in a hypothetical match up by nine points. History has proven, however, that polls are untrustworthy. Even though Arizona’s two U.S. Senators are Democrats, and five of the nine U.S. Representatives are also Democrats, Republicans hold a slight edge in voter registrations, with new data indicating that GOP registrations are rising while Democrats are declining.
The border crisis and Kelly’s indifference to it have given Brnovich, Lamon and Masters a winning hand. The question is whether they can play their cards skillfully enough to pull off an upset win.
Pivotal Arizona Senate Race Up for Grabs