“In speaking with several Republicans both in-state and watching the entire Senate battlefield, Arizona has moved down its list of fold-over states, with many even seeing Pennsylvania — a rating we pushed back last month, which saw the Democrat However, John Fetterman was under attack from crime ads and constant questions about his health – as staying in the GOP column was more likely than Arizona to win,” concludes Taylor.
Arizona’s new rating is notable because the race, along with Georgia at the start of the 2022 election cycle, was viewed by many as the most likely Republican opportunity. The state has long been a Republican stronghold, though Democrats had recently made gains with Joe Biden as porter in 2020 and Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s victory in 2018.
But the problems facing Masters — and the Arizona GOP in general — point to how Donald Trump (and Trumpism) has stirred up the party and made it more vulnerable in the general election.
Masters isn’t the only one struggling to adapt to the varied challenges of the general election. In Pennsylvania, Republican Mehmet Oz has fallen behind Fetterman in the state’s Senate race. And in Ohio, Republican JD Vance finds himself in surprisingly close competition with Democrat Tim Ryan in the race to replace retired GOP Sen. Rob Portman.
All three Republicans are caught in the horns of the dilemma currently facing the GOP. To win their primary, they had to embrace Trump and the often extreme positions of the Republican base. (All three won the former president’s endorsement.) But now that they are nominated by their party, the same policies are decidedly detrimental to their chances of winning a general election.
And that awkward dance jeopardizes Republicans’ chances of what once looked almost certain: winning the Senate majority this fall.