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Scoop: Peter Thiel offers to double down on Arizona Senate race

Thought Leader: Josh Kraushaar
October 12, 2022
Source: Axios

Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel has told the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund he is willing to make a multimillion-dollar investment in the Arizona race on the condition the super PAC finds matching funds, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: With less than a month until the midterms, a late cash injection of this scale could prove decisive in one of 2022’s key Senate battlegrounds. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) team has said they are open to the idea but haven’t yet raised the funds.

The big picture: The assumption in GOP political circles was that Thiel and SLF had abandoned Republican nominee Blake Masters, who has consistently trailed Democrat Mark Kelly in polling.

Details: Under the proposed arrangement, Thiel and SLF would together spend at least $10 million to boost Masters — with Thiel responsible for half of the final figure that the two sides agree on, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

The backdrop: SLF canceled $9.6 million in television ads reserved for the Arizona race last month, as Axios first reported, confident that other outside conservative groups would make up the difference.

Between the lines: Thiel signaled at a recent Masters fundraising event that he was done spending on behalf of Ohio Senate nominee J.D. Vance, believing the Republican nominee is on track to win, according to CNBC.

  • Vance, like Masters, is a former venture capital executive whose campaign Thiel has largely funded.
  • The Ohio race against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan is rated “lean Republican” by the Cook Political Report, while Arizona is rating “lean Democratic.”
  • The proposal by Thiel and SLF to double down on Arizona comes days after Masters and Kelly squared off in the race’s first and perhaps only debate, where Masters made waves by calling on the Democrat to resign over his approach to the border crisis.

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