The communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) denied rumors to The Arizona Sun Times that the NRSC chairman, Sen. Richard L. “Rick” Scott (R.-Fla.), is recruiting Arizona Gov. Douglas A. “Doug” Ducey Jr., to run against Democrat Sen. Mark E. Kelly.
“I think your questions reflect a misunderstanding with what the NRSC does and what Chairman Scott does in terms of recruiting,” said Chris Hartline, who before becoming NRSC communications director, worked in a similar capacity on Scott’s Senate staff.
“I can assure you that very few people who claim to know what Chairman Scott wants, have any clue whatsoever,” Hartline said.
The Sun Times asked Hartline about the rumor circulating through the Statehouse that Scott was recruiting Ducey because the Florida senator was looking for a more reliable Republican vote in the Senate, rather than a conservative, who would be less likely to cooperate with the GOP leadership.
“The chairman will talk to anyone who is potentially interested in running for Senate anywhere in the country. He has conversations with potential candidates every day,” said Hartline, who was also communications director for former Tennessee Republican congressman Diane Black.
“The NRSC has no role in the Arizona GOP Senate primary,” he said. “Chairman Scott has said over and over, we do not get involved in primaries.”
Hartline also emphasized that the NRSC is happy with its current field of major four candidates each vying for the nomination and the chance to take on the former astronaut: Attorney General Mark Brnovich, solar energy businessman Jim Lamon, retired Arizona Air National Guard Maj. Gen. Michael “Mick” McGuire and President of the Thiel Foundation Blake Masters.
President Donald J. Trump has not endorsed a candidate in the primary, but he did attend a November 10 fundraiser for Masters at his Mar-a-Largo resort in Palm Springs, Florida.
“We believe that we have four very strong candidates running for Senate in Arizona,” Hartline said.
“It’s up to the voters of Arizona to pick their candidate but we’re confident that whoever comes out of that primary will be well-positioned to beat Mark Kelly.”
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Neil W. McCabe is the national political editor for The Star News Network. Follow him on Twitter: neilwmccabe2.
Photo “Governor Rick Scott” by Governor Rick Scott. CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo “Doug Ducey” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol Building” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.