Axios reports that the conservative Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) has canceled the remainder of its $9.6 million reservation in Arizona, though the super PAC insisted that other groups were simply taking over its mission to help Republican Blake Masters beat Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. “We’re glad to see Republican outside forces showing up in a big way in Arizona, with millions in new spending pledged to take down Mark Kelly in the final stretch,” said SLF president Steven Law, who added that the money would be redirected towards attacking Democratic senators in Georgia, New Hampshire, and Nevada.
Law doesn’t appear to have mentioned Masters' chief benefactor, billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who has been the subject of much angst in GOP circles. Thiel's own super PAC, Saving Arizona, spent $15 million to help Masters—an employee and protégé—win the Republican primary in August, but the group remained idle in the weeks afterward as every poll showed Kelly ahead. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) went on to cancel $3.5 million before SLF axed another $8 million just before Labor Day, but both the Washington Post and CNN went on to detail Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s unsuccessful persuasion campaign to get Thiel to take over.
Since then, Thiel has sent very mixed messages about his plans. Saving Arizona in early September launched a $1.7 million ad buy—which includes a 30-minute infomercial premiering Oct. 1, but multiple outlets say that all that money came from other donors. Thiel himself is set to host a fundraiser for Masters at the end of this month, but everyone’s waiting to see if this will be accompanied by another huge donation to his super PAC. SLF, though, appears to have decided that either Thiel and other mega-donors are coming to their rescue, or that it can force Thiel’s hand by pulling out of the state.
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