Republican Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced today that he is running for U.S. Senate in the 2022 election, but he's doing it without Trump's blessing.
If Brnovich makes it through the Republican primary election, he will go up against incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly, who successfully ousted former Republican Senator Martha McSally in the 2020 election. His announce comes a day after Michael "Mick" McGuire, the former general of the Arizona National Guard, announced his own bid to run as a Republican. Over a dozen other Republicans seeking the Senate seat have filed statements of interest with the Arizona Secretary of State.
Brnovich, who was first elected as attorney general in 2014 and won his bid for reelection in 2018, has been positioning himself for his Senate run for months. He has taken on the Biden administration in the media and in court over its changes to federal immigration policy, including lawsuits against the president's moves to halt construction of the border wall and pause deportations of certain undocumented immigrants. In April, Brnovich visited the borderlands with Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb in a made-for-media moment to play up the increasing number of migrants attempting to cross the southern border. He also recently got food delivery services like DoorDash to agree not to offer discounts for Black-owned businesses in a settlement agreement and filed a lawsuit against Google over its data-collection practices.
In an announcement video posted to Twitter earlier today, Brnovich struck similar notes. He said that he's fought against "government overreach" and "woke corporations." He claimed that he's stood up for "election integrity," securing the border, and religious liberty.
"We need an Arizona conservative in Washington who stands up for us and our values," Brnovich said in the video after the segment cycled through images of Senator Kelly.
Arizona, it’s time to restore your trust and defend your freedom. I’m running for the U.S. Senate to fight for you and your family. Because our best days are ahead. ???????? Join the #BrnoBrigade at https://t.co/MeJiUw3bMO! #AZSen pic.twitter.com/mJc84Zr608— Mark Brnovich (@brnoforaz) June 10, 2021
Brnovich has also changed his tune on so-called "election integrity" and Republicans' ongoing efforts to re-litigate the 2020 election. In November, Brnovich famously said on Fox News that President Biden would win the 2020 election and his electoral success wasn't an indication of fraud.
More recently, Brnovich has gone on Newsmax, a pro-Trump conservative media outlet, to defend the Arizona Senate-mandated election audit in Phoenix, which has been widely criticized as a partisan farce. He also declined to criticize the audit in an interview with Fox News this morning, stating, "I’m going to wait until our office gets all the facts and evidence, gets the final report from the senate before weighing in and kind of telling them what they should or shouldn’t have done."
But Brnovich, who is libertarian-leaning, may run into trouble in the 2022 Republican primary. Former President Donald Trump, who still holds vice-like grip on the broader Republican party, blasted Brnovich as "lackluster" in a statement issued last month for not being more supportive of the election audit. Trump said that Brnovich has to "get on the ball and catch up with the great Republican Patriots in the Arizona State Senate" and that "no Arizona Republican will vote for him in the upcoming elections."
Sarah Guggenheimer, a spokesperson for the Arizona Democratic Party, harped on Trump's criticism of Brnovich in a statement criticizing him.
“Welcome, ‘lackluster’ Brnovich, to a primary that is rapidly turning into an absurd, costly, and long-running argument over which Republican politician is least suited to serve Arizonans in the Senate," she said. "Best known for wasting taxpayer dollars on an expensive lawsuit to gut protections for Arizonans with pre-existing conditions, and already put on notice by President Trump, Brnovich’s entry into this crowded and chaotic primary field, underscores just how brutal this nominating contest will be."
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