Never mind Kyrsten Sinema vs. Ruben Gallego for 2024. This is the dark horse for Senate

Blake Masters || Gage Skidmore

Opinion: The 2024 race for U.S. Senate provides an excellent opportunity for a unifying conservative to slide in and take the prize.

Jon Gabriel opinion contributor

The Arizona Republic

Six months after losing a tough Arizona election, one GOP candidate is still fighting the results. But another has remained conspicuously silent.

The complainers might grab headlines, but I’m drawn to the candidate that didn’t bark.

In 2022, Republicans expected to win the majority in the U.S. Senate. Instead, Democrats gained a two-seat advantage, a fact the GOP is desperate to reverse.

The best chances to flip seats are red states with blue senators: Montana, Ohio and West Virginia. Mitch McConnell wants West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to replace Sen. Joe Manchin, which seems likely.

Montana and Ohio are still scrambling for candidates to take on Sen. Jon Tester and Sen. Sherrod Brown, respectively. Their chances remain to be seen.

Sinema and Gallego will divide their base

But there’s one more Senate race that will draw lots of national attention: the always unpredictable state of Arizona. 

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema remains defiantly centrist, annoying much of the former Democrat’s base. Progressives across the nation are eagerly helping Ruben Gallego teach her a lesson about party loyalty.

In a general election, this will divide liberal and independent votes, providing an excellent opportunity for a unifying conservative to slide in and take the prize.

Note the word “unifying.”

What’s needed is a candidate who seeks the votes of all Republicans, whether “America First” or McCain-style maverick. Bashing those “other kinds of Republicans” might win the primary, but it will be death in the general. 

The last election taught us that.

Alienate one group or the other, and a big chunk of voters will support Sinema or just stay home.

A unifying conservative could beat them both

That’s why smart conservatives are keeping their eyes on the candidate that didn’t bark.

After losing a competitive race, Blake Masters conceded instead of wasting half a year denying reality.


[RELATED] Special Elections this week in Tucson and Cochise County

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May 2023