The GOP front-runner in the race for Arizona’s Senate seat has lost his lead in the polls, ramping up competition among Republicans in an election the party considers crucial to take control of Congress in November.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s comfortable lead that he has held for nearly a year took a hit in April as his opponents boosted their advertising efforts and former President Donald Trump denounced him for not supporting his claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. The decline in favorability may be due to Brnovich’s balancing act of serving as the attorney general and running as a Senate candidate as he struggles to make clear his position on the results of the 2020 election.
Jim Lamon (R-AZ), a self-funded challenger, surpassed Brnovich in several polls conducted over the last few weeks. One such poll shows Lamon with a 3-point lead, giving him 25% of the vote compared to Brnovich’s 22%, according to an internal poll conducted by Lamon’s campaign.
The survey was conducted April 21-24 and reflects what other polls are predicting in the battleground state.
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Trump has not endorsed a candidate in the race but has shown support for Blake Masters (R-AZ), who garnered 16% of the vote, according to the Lamon poll. The former president called in to an election integrity event hosted by Masters on Saturday, expressing approval of the candidate just one week after he lambasted Brnovich for not supporting his unsupported claims of a stolen election.
“Attorney General Brnovich of Arizona was given massive information on the fraud and so-called ‘irregularities’ that took place in the 2020 Presidential Election. Many people said that he would do nothing about it because that just seems to be the way he is,” Trump said in a statement on April 18. “He wants to be politically correct. Because of the amount of time that it took him to do the report, which was endless, his poll numbers have been rapidly sinking.”
Brnovich later responded, maintaining that state investigations have not found evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have changed the outcome of the 2020 election.
The comments follow a report from the attorney general’s office in early April that gave an update on the state’s monthslong investigation of allegations of voter fraud in Maricopa County. Although the investigation found “serious vulnerabilities” in how the election was conducted, his office determined there was no widespread fraud.
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The Arizona GOP primary is set to be held on Aug. 2, and the winner will face incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ). The election is expected to be a competitive race that could determine the fate of Congress, as President Joe Biden defeated Trump by about 10,000 votes in the state and has experienced a steady decline in approval ratings since taking office.