Arizona AG Brnovich falls out of first place in Senate GOP primary as opponents ramp up ad spending

Brnovich has also been criticized by former President Donald Trump for failing to take a hardline stance on election integrity efforts in Arizona.

Published: May 2, 2022 8:44am

Updated: May 2, 2022 9:49am

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has slipped from his first place position in the state's GOP Senate primary. 

Since last year, Brnovich has held a consistent lead in the primary to go up against Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly as the GOP attempts to reclaim majority control of the Senate.

Arizona, a state that went to President Joe Biden in the last presidential election, became a hotbed for election controversy following the 2020 race as election integrity measures and a highly publicized audit became the central focuses of Republicans in the state legislature.

Brnovich, who has avoided weighing in to the election controversy with too loud a voice, recently slipped from his top position as his opponents outspend him in ads during thee lead up to the August 2 primary.

Politico reports that polling shows Jim Lamon, a self-funded solar power executive who says he is willing to spend up to $50 million to win the seat, has surged ahead of Brnovich in the polls after spending $3.8 million on ads. 

Brnovich maintains a 22% share of the potential votes, just ahead of populist conservative candidate Blake Masters, who is holding onto 16% of the vote. At present, 31% of Arizonian GOP voters say they remain undecided. 

Former President Trump has expressed an interest in Masters' campaign. An associate of billionaire tech executive Peter Thiel and former employee of his venture capital firm, Masters has also zeroed in on the issue of election integrity in a way that Brnovich has not. 

Over the weekend, Trump called in to address a group gathered at an event on election integrity hosted by Masters. "I heard Blake was the person that showed up, and I want to thank Blake," the former president said to the crowd.

Trump recently admonished Brnovich for failing to sufficiently, in his view, address claims of widespread voter fraud in the Arizona. Brnovich has declined Masters' invitation to debate him on election integrity issues.

Trump has previously criticized Brnovich for taking too long to produce a report on the status of the ongoing investigation into the 2020 election in Maricopa County. Though the attorney general has said there are "serious vulnerabilities" in the election process, he would not endorse the idea of widespread voter fraud. 

"I understand his frustration," Brnovich said following Trump criticism of him. "BVut as I’ve said previously, I will continue to follow the facts and evidence and do what the law requires. That’s what I’ve always done and what I will continue to do as Arizona’s next senator."

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