A major Republican political action committee backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is pulling its funding from the crucial battleground state of Arizona, according to a new report.
As revealed by Politico, “The Senate Leadership Fund [SLF], which is aligned with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is scrapping roughly $8 million in ads — about half of its initial Arizona reservation — that were supposed to start in the early fall,” with the super PAC now set to begin airing ads in Arizona in early October.
“In November [Republican Senate nominee Blake] Masters will face Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), who already enjoys a heavy financial advantage down the stretch,” the report reads. “The super PAC’s move will exacerbate that Kelly edge as Republicans seek to net the one seat needed to take back Senate control.”
In defense of the decision, SLF President Steven Law told Politico that while the group is “leaving the door wide open in Arizona,” they also want to “move additional resources to other offensive opportunities that have become increasingly competitive.”
“We think the fundamentals of this election strongly favor Republicans, we see multiple paths to winning the majority, and we are going to invest heavily and strategically to achieve that goal,” Law said.
A Masters win in Arizona would not only put the GOP one step closer to retaking the Senate, but it would also rid the legislative body of one of its most radical members. Despite the insistence of the legacy media, Mark Kelly is no moderate. According to a FiveThirtyEight tracker that monitors the voting records of congressional members, Kelly has voted in line with President Joe Biden’s position an astounding 94.4 percent of the time, with Conservative Review giving the Arizona Democrat an “F” grade for consistently voting for the president’s leftist agenda.
Masters and Senate Republican nominees J.D. Vance (Ohio), Mehmet Oz (Pennsylvania), Adam Laxalt (Nevada), and Herschel Walker (Georgia) were among those endorsed and backed by former President Donald Trump during their states’ respective GOP primaries.
While SLF also announced it would be cutting roughly $1.7 million in ad spending in Alaska for GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Law said the decision was based on the McConnell-backed group’s belief that Murkowski is “in a very strong position” to win reelection.
“We are all-in for Senator Murkowski,” he said.
Murkowski, who has sided with Democrats on a host of key issues, such as gun control and opposing Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, will be facing off against Trump-backed conservative Kelly Tshibaka in November’s election. While both Republicans will be joined by two other candidates in the general election due to the state’s newly adopted ranked-choice voting system, the lone Democrat only managed to acquire roughly 6.8 percent of the vote in the primary, essentially setting up the November contest as a battle between two Republicans.
The new cuts in ad spending for Masters in Arizona come weeks after the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) separately canceled an estimated $13.5 million worth of ads across numerous battleground states, including “Pennsylvania ($7.5 million), Arizona ($3.5 million), Wisconsin ($2.5 million) and Nevada ($1.5 million).”
“People are asking, ‘What the hell is going on?’” a GOP strategist working on Senate races told Politico. “Why are we cutting in August? I’ve never seen it like this before.”
Power Over Principle
In addition to slashing spending in crucial battleground states, McConnell has also gone out of his way to publicly undercut GOP candidates like Masters, who have previously criticized the Kentucky senator’s leadership style. When recently asked about Republicans’ prospects for the upcoming midterm elections, McConnell threw cold water on the idea that the GOP could take control of the upper chamber, saying that “candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different,” he said.
McConnell’s comments run contrary to statements issued by Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott, who during a Monday interview with Sean Hannity emphasized that the party has “great candidates all across the country” and disagreed with McConnell’s assessment of Republicans’ chances of retaking the Senate.
“We’ve got great candidates. Look at the background of these people. I mean, these are wonderful individuals that believe in this country,” Scott said. “And they believe in the right things. We are going to win, but we’ve got to raise our money.”
While it’s one thing for leaders of political parties to espouse caution about future electoral prospects, it’s quite another to ostensibly slander your own party’s candidates to the benefit of your opponents. McConnell’s comments, in conjunction with his super PAC’s cut in crucial ad spending, have some Republican voters scratching their heads, wondering what exactly the minority leader’s end goal is.
Why would McConnell pull funding from a race that more accurate pollsters have shown to be a dead heat? And why isn’t he doing everything in his power to secure a Republican majority, especially given the number of hotly contested races this fall?
The answer? Power.
Having been in Congress since 1985, McConnell has spent decades clawing his way to the top of Senate GOP leadership, while simultaneously spending millions of dollars through super PACs in Republican primaries across the country to back candidates who will support such a conquest. For him to full-heartedly back anti-establishment candidates such as Masters in a general election would mean bringing a conservative to Washington who could potentially oust him from such a position and actually return power to conservative Americans. And for the 80-year-old Senate Minority Leader, that is simply unacceptable.
Whether Republican voters like to admit it, McConnell and the GOP establishment have looked down on them — and continue to do so — with utter disdain. Such is the reason why any Republican candidate not specifically chosen by party leadership must be both delegitimized and destroyed. No matter the cost, the establishment simply cannot allow the base of the party to disrupt its decades-long hold on power.
At the end of the day, McConnell would rather have another two years of a Democrat-controlled Senate where he remains party leader than a Republican-controlled one where he’s not. This November, voters must wrestle back power not just from Democrats, but from swamp creatures like McConnell as well, lest our country continue to pay the price.