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Hawley Endorses Thiel-Backed Arizona Senate Candidate


Masters takes place in a competitive primary that also includes state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, wealthy solar energy executive Jim Lamon and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mick McGuire. While former President Donald Trump has endorsed Vance, he has yet to declare his support for a candidate in the Arizona primary, which is scheduled for Aug. 2. far future.”

Hawley, Masters and Vance share deep ties — including a common benefactor: tech billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel paid $10 million to a super PAC supporting Masters, his former de facto chief of staff, as well as $13.5 million to another group supporting Vance, a venture capitalist and author of the book “Hillbilly Elegy.” Thiel, a PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor who became one of the Republican Party’s biggest donors, gave Hawley’s 2016 campaign for state attorney general six figures and slashed the maximum checks for his 2018 Senate campaign.

Hawley and Thiel’s relationship dates back about two decades, when the senator was an undergraduate at Stanford University. The two have stayed in touch ever since: They have made regular appearances at the National Conservative Conference, an annual populist-leaning gathering of high-profile conservatives. Thiel, Hawley and Vance were keynote speakers at last year’s conference in Orlando, Florida.

They also share an influential ally in Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who frequently uses his late-night show to confront Republican Party elites. Hawley is a regular guest on Carlson’s program, and Carlson invited Masters and Vance to appear on his show ahead of their primaries this year.

Carlson was complimentary of both: When Masters was on Carlson’s schedule earlier this year, the host called the contestant “a very smart guy” and said “we support him.” And he praised Vance when the Ohio nominee appeared on his platform last week, telling the nominee that if elected, Republicans in Washington would “go completely unhinged and hysterical, which is always a measure of your effectiveness”.

Hawley, who rose to prominence in 2020 for opposing the certification of presidential election results, has repeatedly denied his interest in running for president in 2024. But he has played a growing role in behind the scenes by backing Masters and Vance — at the very least by bolstering the ideological potential of allies in the Senate and, perhaps, cultivating high-profile supporters for a future national campaign, should he run.

Shortly before Masters launched his candidacy last summer, Hawley contacted him by phone to encourage him to run for the Senate, according to a person familiar with the conversation. When Masters visited Washington in December, the two met for about 45 minutes.

Hawley also voiced his support for Vance, tapping into his growing fundraising list to help fill the Ohio Republican’s coffers. Hawley and Carlson were among those who encouraged Trump to endorse Vance ahead of the May 3 primary in Ohio.

It’s unclear if Hawley is committing to other races, although advisers say he is being courted by candidates for his support. He also backed his home state’s Senate race, where he backs Rep. Vicky Hartzler in the race to succeed GOP Sen. Roy Bluntwho is retiring.

Regardless of whether Hawley is gearing up to run for president, many Republicans are confident the Missouri Republican is positioning himself to play a bigger role in GOP politics.

“He’s smartly doing what he can to help elect ideological allies to join the fight with him,” said Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist who advises Vance and a pro-Masters super PAC.

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