Libertarian Candidate Drops Out of Arizona Senate Race and Endorses Masters

“This is another major boost of momentum as we consolidate our support,” Blake Masters said.

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Libertarian Candidate Drops Out of Arizona Senate Race and Endorses Masters |

Marc Victor, center, with Blake Masters, right, and Senator Mark Kelly during their only debate, in October.

The Libertarian candidate running for Senate in Arizona — who had threatened to play spoiler in the closely watched race — is dropping out and endorsing Blake Masters, the Republican nominee.

The decision, announced on Tuesday, gives Mr. Masters a lift heading into the final week as he seeks to unseat Senator Mark Kelly, the Democratic incumbent, who has generally held a narrow lead in the polls.

“This is another major boost of momentum as we consolidate our support,” Mr. Masters said in a statement to The New York Times.

Marc Victor, the Libertarian candidate, and Mr. Masters spoke on Monday for a 20-minute recorded conversation that Mr. Victor is expected to publish, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Mr. Victor had made such a conversation a precondition to quitting, technically offering such an opportunity both to Mr. Masters and to Mr. Kelly.

“I found Blake to be generally supportive of the Live and Let Live Global Peace Movement,” Mr. Victor said in a statement. “After that discussion, I believe it is in the best interests of freedom and peace to withdraw my candidacy and enthusiastically support Blake Masters for United States Senate.”

Mr. Victor’s underfunded campaign had a chance to make more of an impact than some other third-party candidates this year, in part because he was onstage for the race’s lone debate. (He made waves in the appearance by suggesting the “age of consent” is something “that reasonable minds disagree on” and “should be up for a vote.”)

Mr. Masters appears to have gone to some lengths to court libertarian-minded voters and assuage any concerns from Mr. Victor. Last Thursday, he posted a picture from 2010 of himself with Ron Paul, the former congressman and libertarian folk hero, saying he was “honored” to have Mr. Paul’s endorsement. Mr. Masters also made recent appearances on Mr. Paul’s podcast and another libertarian podcast.

Mr. Victor had previously been funded at least in part by Democrats, presumably hoping to redirect some votes away from the Republican nominee.

Donations included $5,000 from the Save Democracy PAC, which says on its website that it is pursuing “a nationwide effort to confront and defeat Republican extremism” and another $5,000 from Defeat Republicans PAC. In May, Ron Conway, the California-based Democratic investor, gave Mr. Victor part of more than $45,000 in donations from various people who share the Conway last name in California; those funds account for about one-third of everything Mr. Victor raised in total.

A New York Times/Siena College poll released on Monday showed Mr. Kelly ahead, 51 percent to 45 percent, with Mr. Victor garnering 1 percent support. Mr. Victor has been shown as earning a larger share of the vote in other polls, including one in mid-October from the progressive group Data for Progress that had Mr. Victor pulling in 3 percent with Mr. Kelly and Mr. Masters tied.

Voting has already begun in Arizona, with roughly 895,000 votes already cast, according to a tally made public by a Democratic group — equivalent to more than a third of the nearly 2.4 million votes cast in the last midterm election, in 2018.


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