Arizona Senate candidate Masters backs challenge to McConnell for GOP leader

Arizona Senate hopeful Blake Masters said Monday that Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell should not be the Republican leader in the next Congress.

Masters told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that if he wins election, he would support a challenger from McConnell’s right to lead Senate Republicans.

“I certainly think we need new leadership,” Masters said.

Earlier Monday, Masters told reporters that should he defeat incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., he would not be beholden to McConnell in the Senate.

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Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters speaks during a campaign rally on Nov. 7, 2022, in Prescott, Arizona.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

McConnell “will not own me, McConnell doesn’t love me. And clearly, he had a chance to help. He didn’t do it,” Masters said.

“He doesn’t want me in there, but he’s about to be stuck with me,” he added.

Fox News contacted McConnell’s office for comment but did not receive a response before publication.

This is not the first time Masters has fired shots across McConnell’s bow.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks with reporters following a closed-door policy lunch at the Capitol.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

During the Arizona Republican primary, Masters called for McConnell to be replaced as GOP leader, saying he’d support Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri or Tom Cotton of Arkansas for the position. He also said at the time he believed McConnell was “not good at” legislating.

“I’ll tell Mitch this to his face,” Masters said during a GOP primary debate in June. “He’s not bad at everything. He’s good at judges. He’s good at blocking Democrats. You know what he’s not good at? Legislating.”

After winning the Republican nomination for Senate, Masters appeared to change his tune. In August, he promised to “find a way to work together” with McConnell and appealed for the minority leader to financially support his campaign. However, the Senate Leadership Fund, a McConnell-aligned Super PAC, instead cut about $8 million in ad spending in Arizona and shifted those resources to other key races.

A spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund pointed out a sister PAC has spent over $13 million in Arizona to elect Masters, the Wall Street Journal reported.

ARIZONA SENATE RACE: VOTERS ARE SPLIT ON MASTERS VS. KELLY DAYS BEFORE THE MIDTERM ELECTION

Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and his Republican challenger Blake Masters arrive for a televised debate in Phoenix, Oct. 6, 2022.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Polls opened in Vermont at 5 a.m. Tuesday, signifying the official start of Election Day voting in the midterms.

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Republicans need to fend off Democratic Senate challenges to their incumbents and then just defeat one sitting Democratic senator to win a majority. McConnell’s PAC has spent nearly $178 million supporting Republican candidates in battleground states, including Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to AdImpact.

Arizona’s Senate race is considered a toss-up.

Fox News’ Kyle Morris contributed to this report.