“In conversations with several Republicans in the state or looking at the overall Senate field, Arizona has moved down the list of flip-flopping states, even as many have looked at Pennsylvania — a notch. The ban that we moved last month but where Democrat John Fetterman has come under attack from crime-related ads and continued questions about his health — as Arizona is now more likely to stay in the GOP column than to win. Taylor concluded.
Arizona’s new ranking is notable because at the start of the 2022 election cycle, the race with Georgia was seen by many as a potential pickup opportunity for Republicans. The state had long been a Republican stronghold, though Democrats made late gains when Joe Biden carried it in 2020 and Democratic Sen. Kirsten Sinema won in 2018.
But Masters — and the problems facing the Arizona GOP in general — underscore how Donald Trump (and Trumpism) has weakened the party and made it even weaker in the general election. .
Masters is not alone in the struggle to deal with the various challenges of the general elections. In Pennsylvania, Republican Mehmet Oz has fallen behind Fetterman in the state’s open-seat Senate race. And in Ohio, Republican JD Vance finds himself in a surprisingly close race with Democrat Tim Ryan in the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman.
All three Republicans find themselves caught in the horns of a dilemma that currently faces the GOP. To win his primary, he needed to embrace the often extreme positions of Trump and the Republican base. (All three won the former president’s endorsement.) But now, as their party’s nominees, those same policies are surely damaging to their chances of winning the general election.
And this awkward dance is jeopardizing Republicans’ chances of what once seemed close: winning the Senate majority this fall.