Republican candidate Blake Masters, who is running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly to represent Arizona in the Senate, received a major boost to his campaign after being endorsed by his Libertarian challenger.
Marc Victor, the 53-year-old attorney and Libertarian Party nominee, announced that he was dropping out of the race and would support Masters’ bid to unseat Kelly, who won a special election to the Senate in 2020 and is now running for a full-term. Victor spoke with Masters over the phone on Monday night, according to The New York Times, and had offered to speak with Kelly.
“After that discussion, I believe it is in the best interests of freedom and peace to withdraw my candidacy and enthusiastically support Blake Masters for United States Senate,” said Victor in a statement to the Times. He added that his decision was based on Masters being “supportive of the Live and Let Live Global Peace Movement,” a non-profit organization that Victor founded.
🕊️ JUST IN: Libertarian @Victor4Senate withdraws and endorses @bgmasters for U.S. Senate in Arizona pic.twitter.com/0BQ9A5DpLR
— Blake Masters for U.S. Senate Press (@MastersPress) November 1, 2022
Victor’s support means that Masters will likely benefit from Libertarian votes in the general election, which is to be held on Nov. 8. A poll conducted by Phillips Academy of 985 likely voters showed Victor earning support from 2% of respondents, which, if added to Masters’ total, would put him in the lead.
Victor’s decision to support Masters comes despite the support he received from major Democratic donors for his campaign. In May, Democratic donor and investor Ron Conway gave Victor more than $45,000 in campaign donations, which accounts for a third of all his fundraising, while he also received $5,000 from the Save Democracy PAC, a nationwide Democratic-backed effort to defeat Republican candidates. (RELATED: ‘Absolutely He Is Not Pro-Life’: AZ Dem Staffer Alleges Sen. Kelly Has To ‘Play Both Sides’ For Votes)
A week before the midterm elections, Libertarian Marc Victor has dropped out of the U.S. Senate race and is now endorsing Republican Blake Masters. He joins Arizona’s Morning News to explain why. https://t.co/FYuFjgJD82
— VictorForSenate (@Victor4Senate) November 1, 2022
In 2020, the Libertarian presidential candidate, Jo Jorgensen, gained 51,465 votes in the state, with the margin between major party candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden being just 10,457 votes.
The race between Kelly and Masters is considered equally close, with Kelly’s lead having shrunk to between 1 and 3 points, per recent polls aggregated by RealClearPolitics. Kelly’s seat has been a prime battleground race in the GOP’s effort to regain a majority in the Senate in this year’s midterm elections.
Not all experts believe that Victor’s decision will help Masters, though. “Victor’s name stays on the ballot and he will still get 3% of the vote… it’s not gonna make a big difference,” said Chuck Coughlin, who runs AZ Higher Ground, in comments to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Other battleground races have Libertarian candidates in the race, who are polling at rates equivalent to Victor in their states. In Georgia, where Republican candidate Herschel Walker is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, the Libertarian candidate, Chase Oliver, is polling at 2%, per the latest poll posted on FiveThirtyEight.
Over 895,000 votes have already been cast in Arizona during early voting, per data reported by Uplift Data. Kelly, Masters and Victor did not respond to requests for comment.
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