Homing in on securing the border, fighting crime, and flipping the seat of Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., Arizona GOP Senate primary candidates lined up in a lively debate Wednesday night on Newsmax, vowing to maintain conservative principles in a key midterm battleground state.
The Arizona race is crucial for GOP hopes to regain control of the Senate, and the race appears to be narrowing between former Big Tech executive Blake Masters and businessman Jim Lamon. The Republican primary election is set for Aug. 2 and early voting has begun.
Both candidates claim a strong pro-Trump, America First agenda.
Lamon, a former star college football player, Army paratrooper, and entrepreneur who built a nearly billion-dollar energy business, aimed his fire at current front-runner Masters.
Lamon challenged Masters for supporting immigration, being "owned" by his wealthy out-of-state donors, and not working to "fix" Big Tech when Masters was a part of that powerful and wealthy industry.
"We cannot have someone who is inexperienced, someone who is young, who has not gone through the rigors, someone who is a global capitalist from California who, by the way, never answered the question of why did he write what he said about having open borders," Lamon told the crowd at Madison Center for the Arts in Phoenix, Arizona, in the live Newsmax debate moderated by anchor John Bachman.
Masters focused his fire on Democrats in Washington.
"The Democrats in power have failed; and it would be a mistake, I think, for a conservative candidate to say all the right things in the primary and then move to the squishy middle," Masters, said.
"What we need to do is run conservative candidates who can articulate these correct and conservative principles ... who can articulate that in a way that attracts, not alienates, independents."
Also participating was Mick McGuire, a retired commanding general of the Arizona National Guard, who received praise from both candidates on stage, including Lamon, thanking him for not being "a woke general."
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, also running in the race, declined Newsmax's invitation to participate.
Immigration and border issues dominated the debate.
Despite being targeted for his past position in support of an open border, Masters vowed "the correct amount of illegal immigration is zero."
Lamon responded he is not beholden to wealthy donors like Masters would be, saying, "No one is going to control me or own me; he's owned right now and will be in U.S. Senate."
Lamon also noted he is endorsed by two key parties important to Arizona voters, including Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council.
"This guy [Masters] took a slap also at the National Border Patrol Council, all 21,000 members, in the last debate," Lamon said. "He's taken it again. This shot — you need to understand, that's California talk, buddy, not Arizona. We love our police and border here."
But all three candidates were strong on the border, crime, and the goal of defeating Kelly in the November general midterm Senate election.
"We must get back to removal of the criminal gangs, all of the illegal activity, the cartels, everything that the left, including Mark Kelly, aided and abetted by their actions, and your Senate, to allow this continue to happen," Lamon concluded.
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Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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