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A few weeks ago, the chances of Republican Blake Masters beating Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly seemed remote. Kelly outworked (and beat) Masters and it looked like some national Republicans were taking the race away.
Things are different today. On Thursday, two election forecasters — along with Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report and Politico — moved the race from the “Lean Democrat” category to a “tossup.”
Cook Political Report’s Jessica Taylor wrote:
“Talking to multiple sources this week, we’ve seen that across the board Democrats agree that this is once again a margin-of-error race. We’ve also seen the polls tighten.”
(Note: A CNN poll released earlier this month showed Kelly Masters leading among likely voters 51% to 45%).
Taylor said even though the race was a toss-up, she favored Kelly, if only slightly. Inside Elections, another campaign tipster, rates the race “tilted Democratic.”
What has changed in the race even a few weeks ago? A few things:
1) Republican Kari Lake is running stronger than expected in the governor’s race against Democrat Katie Hobbs, helping to lift the GOP ticket as a whole.
2) Joe Biden (as I’ve noted here) is not popular nationally, which will tend to bring down even the most well-funded and competent of the Democratic candidates, which Kelly absolutely is.
3) After a Mitch McConnell-aligned super PAC pulled out of the race, the Masters was being televised. But lately, Donald Trump’s super PAC has started spending money to help close the ad gap.
Masters remains a poor candidate, with his past controversial comments repeatedly brought up by Kelly’s campaign for negative ad material.
point: Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. And Masters, right now, is benefiting from the rising Republican tide that is lifting GOP candidates across the country.