Republican Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters said the GOP is out of touch with ordinary Americans and described how he’s breaking from some “establishment” norms in an exclusive interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Masters said Republicans, including himself, were in agreement about many key issues such as low taxes and low regulations, but that he’s more skeptical of foreign intervention and more vocal about crime and immigration than some of his counterparts. He spoke with the DCNF at the National Conservatism conference in Miami Sunday.
“I think I’m speaking more boldly about the southern border and issues of crime than a lot of establishment Republicans,” he told the DCNF. “I’m running on this America First agenda, that’s what I believe in, and I think we’re remaking the Republican Party to really implement that America first agenda. I think that the Republican party that Paul Ryan wants, that’s not the Republican party the American people want.”
Democrats have given up on you. I never will. We’re going to put an end to smuggling and illegal immigration. pic.twitter.com/JrstTp0PNu
— Blake Masters (@bgmasters) May 5, 2022
Masters is running against Democratic Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, who is leading him by 47 to 45 percentage points roughly two months ahead of election day, according to a Sept. 9 Emerson College poll. The race has been labeled a “toss-up,” according to the non-partisan Cook Political Report.
The “America First” agenda, according to Masters, prioritizes the needs of ordinary Americans, and that means focusing more on domestic issues and less on foreign intervention. He also said establishment Republicans tend to grow disconnected from normal Americans during their time in office, which he said was driving growing support for populist strains of conservatism.
“Establishment Republicans tend to be a little bit too disconnected from the people. I see this especially in the Senate,” he said. “You stack a few six-year terms and suddenly you’re too disconnected from American life and what working class and middle class people are feeling. They live in a bubble, and the America first groundswell happened because establishment Republicans are out of touch.”
One key area were he’s distancing himself from the Republican establishment is foreign policy; he said he is a non-interventionist by default and believe the U.S. government should avoid military intervention when it’s not strictly necessary.
“I’ve been much more skeptical, for instance, about sending $40 billion to Ukraine,” he told the DCNF. “I would’ve voted no, I don’t think we should be doing that, and I think the Republican establishment is still more hawkish on that.”
The comments come amid an apparent rift between Masters and the GOP: the Senatorial Republican Super PAC, which is affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, pulled millions of dollars in ad buys for Masters in Arizona in August.
Masters didn’t directly comment on whether the funds were being withheld due to the perceived conflict between him and the Republican establishment, but said he was confident that necessary funds would come in from Washington, Silicon Valley and Arizona in apparent references to McConnell and tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel.
“This race is too close, it’s too crucial and it’s too winnable. I don’t know when the dam breaks but I think we’re gonna have all the resources we need,” he said.
McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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