Mark Kelly beats Blake Masters earlier than midterms

Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, who is running for re-election to the U.S. Senate in the 2022 U.S. midterm election, appears in an undated handout photo provided to Reuters on October 5, 2022.

Handout | Via Reuters

According to Federal Election Commission records, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly outperformed his opponent, Republican Blake Masters, in the third quarter.

Kelly’s campaign went into October, weeks before the midterm elections, with almost six times as much cash.

Kelly’s campaign raised just over $21 million from July 14 through September 30. Masters, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, grossed over $4.7 million during the same period.

Kelly’s campaign went into October with over $13 million, while Masters had just over $2.8 million in his war chest. One of Masters’ largest single donations was a $4,950 contribution from the National Rifle Association. Masters, a wealthy businessman, contributed over $570,000 to his own campaign last quarter.

Election day is November 8th.

The race was once seen as a strong opportunity for Republicans in the fight for Senate control, but Kelly has been ahead in many of the most recent polls. A RealClearPolitics poll average has Kelly 4.5 points ahead. The Cook Political Report describes the race as a “lean Democrat”.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with U.S. Senate nominee Blake Masters (R-AZ) onstage during a rally ahead of the midterm elections in Mesa, Arizona October 9, 2022.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

The Senate is split 50-50, with Democrats relying on Vice President Kamala Harris for decisive votes.

A spokesman for Kelly’s team referred CNBC to a recent statement from the campaign manager Emma Brown promotes the Senator’s fundraiser. A spokeswoman for the Masters campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The Masters’ delay in raising funds from Kelly was an issue throughout the campaign. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reveals that Kelly had raised over $52 million in the third quarter, while Masters raked in just under $5 million.

Fundraising in the last quarter by both campaigns does not include the amount raised by outside groups supporting each candidate. The Arizona bailout, a pro-Masters super PAC that once received $15 million from Masters ally and former boss billionaire Peter Thiel, raised over $4 million from mid-July through late September. The Super PAC, which has unlimited cash to raise and spend, has over $1.9 million at its disposal.

Although Thiel did not contribute to the Super PAC last quarter, some recent top donations include a $3 million contribution from shipping supplier Richard Uihlein and $1 million from cryptocurrency executives Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.

Thiel has signaled that since Masters stands behind Kelly in both fundraising and polling, he will continue to raise funds for his former employee. Masters was chief operating officer at Thiel Capital until earlier this year.

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