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Blake Masters
Masters’ refusal to participate in baseless election fraud allegations did not go unnoticed in Trumpworld. Rick Scuteri/AP

How a Feud Between Arizona’s Trumpiest Republicans Has Taken Over a GOP Primary

Ugly campaign ads and accusations of a “mental breakdown” are exposing deep divides in the MAGA world.

The fight to win a contentious and crowded Arizona Republican primary is bringing out bitter divisions among some of Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters.

Blake Masters and Abe Hamadeh are two of the candidates running in the 8th District. Both men consider themselves staunch Trump allies. Both men lost their races in 2022 (Masters for the Senate and Hamadeh for attorney general). There’s also Kari Lake, who likewise considers herself close to Trump, lost her gubernatorial bid in 2022 and is now running for Senate.

Trump endorsed all three in 2022 but is only supporting Lake and Hamadeh this time around, and the two are supporting each other. As the race heats up, the bad blood between the three is spilling further out into the open.

In a particularly nasty turn, some voters were recently sent an ad that the Masters campaign released highlighting Hamadeh’s Muslim background. “What does Dishonest Abe Hamadeh believe?” a narrator asks. (Hamadeh is of Muslim and Druze descent.)

The ad also includes a more recent photo of Hamadeh in Mecca combined with an old post he wrote on a Ron Paul forum as a teenager that said, “America was founded on Islamic principles.”

“Blake has to lie about me. All I have to do is tell the truth about him … He’s never had to fight for anything in his life. He’s never had the courage to serve his country. He never had the courage to fight the establishment and the corruption after that last election,” Hamadeh told NOTUS in an interview. “And now he wants to pretend that he is going to be able to fight for the American people.”

Hamadeh accused Masters of “having a mental breakdown.”

“From people I talk to who know him, he’s going through a lot and I just pray for his family because it’s sad to see somebody go through this in a public way,” he said.

The Masters campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment, including specific questions about Hamadeh’s comments. The winner of the Republican congressional primary is likely to win the general election, as the 8th is one of the most conservative congressional districts in Arizona.

Much of the split between the three — who ran as a ticket in 2022 — stems from the fact that Masters did not challenge Arizona’s election results when he was defeated so soundly that no one really disputes that he lost. Both Hamadeh and Lake unsuccessfully challenged the election results in multiple suits, including one Hamadeh lost as recently as April 1.

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Even though Masters lost to Democrat Mark Kelly by more than 120,000 votes, his refusal to participate in baseless election fraud allegations did not go unnoticed in Trumpworld.

“He ran and hid after 2022. Now many are like, Oh well, he didn’t contest the election, and he shouldn’t have because he lost by so much,” said activist and former Arizona Teenage Republicans Chair Nico Delgado. “He lost and did so poorly that he really couldn’t contest the election results. But what he could have done is provided resources, provided … support, provided anything other than just dead silence for the year that Kari and Abe were working on their lawsuits.”

Delgado’s view is similar to Lake’s, who posted on X in 2023 in a reply to Masters: “I hope you bring up election fraud, and Election crime. You’ve been quite silent.”

Lake and Masters publicly fought over who would be the better Senate candidate, and Trump reportedly told Masters to stay out of the race altogether. Three sources close to MAGA circles told NOTUS they believe that Masters is taking out his anger with Lake on Hamadeh.

In an email to NOTUS, senior adviser to Kari Lake Colton Duncan said: “Both Kari Lake and President Donald Trump have endorsed Abe Hamadeh. Kari looks forward to working with Abe in D.C. to craft and pass legislation to Make America Great Again.”

Despite Hamadeh receiving Trump’s endorsement, Masters has tried to play up his Trump ties. In a recent fundraising text, Masters sent voters a picture of him with Donald Trump with the caption “Blake Masters for Congress.” The text describes the need for an “America First” candidate. His website even features an ad with a thumbnail of the same photo with Trump, although Trump is not featured in the ad.

“Everybody is just going to try to ride that Trump train, but in all reality, there is only one MAGA candidate because the founder of MAGA has endorsed Abe,” Delgado said.

Tara Kavaler is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow.