Libertarian candidate drops out of Arizona Senate race and endorses Republican Blake Masters

November 2, 2022

Marc Victor, the Libertarian candidate running for Senate in Arizona—who had threatened to play spoiler in the closely watched race—is dropping out and endorsing Blake Masters, the Republican nominee, reports The New York Times.

The decision, announced on Tuesday, November 1, gives Masters a lift heading into the final week as he seeks to unseat Senator Mark Kelly, the Democratic incumbent, who has generally held a narrow lead in the polls.

“This is another major boost of momentum as we consolidate our support,” Masters said in a statement to The New York Times.

Marc Victor, the Libertarian candidate, and Masters spoke on Monday, October 31, for a 20-minute recorded conversation that Victor is expected to publish, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Victor had made such a conversation a precondition to quitting—technically offering such an opportunity both to Masters and to Senator Kelly.

“I found Blake to be generally supportive of the Live and Let Live Global Peace Movement,” Victor said in a statement. “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.”

Victor’s underfunded campaign had a chance to make more of an impact than some other third-party candidates this year, in part because he was onstage for the race’s lone debate. (He made waves in the appearance by suggesting the “age of consent” is something “that reasonable minds disagree on” and “should be up for a vote.”)

Masters appears to have gone to some lengths to court Libertarian-minded voters and assuage any concerns from Victor. Last Thursday, he posted a picture from 2010 of himself with Ron Paul, the former congressman and Libertarian folk hero, saying he was “honored” to have Paul’s endorsement. Masters also made recent appearances on Paul’s podcast and another Libertarian podcast.

Victor previously had been funded, at least in part, by Democrats, presumably hoping to redirect some votes away from the Republican nominee.

Donations included $5,000 from the Save Democracy PAC, which says on its website that it is pursuing “a nationwide effort to confront and defeat Republican extremism,” and another $5,000 from Defeat Republicans PAC. In May, Ron Conway, the California-based Democratic investor, gave Victor part of more than $45,000 in donations from various people who share the family name in California; those funds account for about one-third of everything Victor raised in total.

New York Times/Siena College poll released on Monday showed Senator Kelly ahead, 51% to 45%, with Victor garnering 1% support. Victor has been shown as earning a larger share of the vote in other polls, including one in mid-October from the progressive group Data for Progress that had Victor pulling in 3% with Senator Kelly and Masters tied.

Research contact: @nytimes