Arizona Libertarian candidate backs out of race, endorses Trump-backed Blake Masters

The Libertarian Senate candidate in Arizona threw in the towel one week before election day, asking his supporters to back his Republican opponent in a race that could wrest control of the Senate from Democrats, and saying the Republican candidate is most likely to “get us very sternly, very smartly in the direction of ‘live and let live.'”

Marc Victor, who said he was running for Senate because “we need an entirely different approach to politics,” was polling at 1 percent, according to a recent New York Times poll but his support of Republican Blake Masters could turn the tide for the candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

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

Victor reportedly required that Masters sit for a 20-minute recorded conversation to be published by Victor as a condition of withdrawal from the race. Masters and Victor spoke Monday and Victor posted the endorsement on his website.

“I’ve said from the very beginning that the reason I’m running for Senate is to promote and get us in the direction of freedom and peace and civility,” Victor said in the YouTube video announcing his endorsement. “[Masters] really is — in his heart and in his mind — he’s in favor of doing everything he can to get us very sternly, very smartly in the direction of ‘live and let live.’ And that seems like a good tradeoff to me.”

Victor reaffirmed his commitment to “live and let live” in a statement to the New York Times.

“I found Blake to be generally supportive of the Live and Let Live Global Peace Movement,” Victor said. “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.”

While Victor’s third-party campaign had the potential to impact votes for both incumbent Kelly and Masters, he reportedly received funding from Democrats who felt the Libertarian would divert more votes from Masters.

“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,” the New York Times reported. “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 family name in California; those funds account for about one-third of everything Mr. Victor raised in total.”

As the only candidate to join Masters and Kelly at their lone debate, where Victor caused a stir by indicating the “age of consent” needs review and “should be up for a vote,” the Libertarian has an audience of disenfranchised voters and Masters has sought their support. Prior to his withdrawal, Victor was polling at 1-3 percent.

Monday’s New York Times/Siena College poll showed Kelly with a 51-45 lead over Masters. In hopes of narrowing Kelly’s lead, Masters courted the Libertarian vote, posing with Libertarian icon Ron Paul and appearing on Paul’s and another Libertarian podcast.

Roughly one-third of Arizona voters have already cast their ballot but Victor’s endorsement could impact the votes of the remaining 1.5 million. Fox News is calling Arizona a “toss up” race, indicating polling puts the two remaining candidates too close to call. Cook Political Report also adjusted their rating from “Lean Democrat” to “toss up,” suggesting the GOP’s “chances are improving in a crucial race that could determine which party takes control of the Senate this fall,” Fox News reported.

“The rating change comes amid a spate of tightening private polling that has left Democrats worried about one of their strongest incumbents,” Cook Political Report analyst Jessica Taylor wrote.

Republicans are defending 21 of 35 Senate seats and unseating a Democrat in Arizona could turn the tide, shifting control of the Senate to Republicans.

Kelly and Masters have run a contentious campaign, understanding the import of a win in Arizona.

“Marc Victor joins a growing list of Arizonans from across the political spectrum who are fed up with open borders, big government corruption, and rising crime,” Masters said. “We are building a board coalition to defeat the worse Senator in America, This is another major boost of momentum as we consolidate our support against the extreme and radical policies of Mark Kelly and Joe Biden. Live and Let Live.”


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