Gallego launches $19M ad blitz in Arizona; Lake plans $10M ad buy

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) is launching a $19 million ad blitz while his Republican rival Kari Lake is planning a $10 million ad buy with the Senate GOP campaign arm, the latest signs that the Arizona Senate race is in full swing.

Gallego and Lake, who is seen as the heavy favorite in the GOP primary, are running for outgoing Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-Ariz.) seat — a critical Senate race that could determine which party wins the majority this fall.

Gallego has reserved $19 million in general election advertising, setting a record so far among Democrats in ad reservations, according to The New York Times, which first reported on the ad campaign. The details in the Times report were confirmed to The Hill by Gallego campaign spokesperson Hannah Goss.

At the same time, Lake is launching a $10 million ad buy with the help of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). She released on Monday her first ad from that campaign, called “Big Differences,” in which the former local news anchor targets Gallego over immigration and border security. The ad is slated to air on broadcast, cable and digital media statewide, according to her campaign. Axios was the first to report about her ad blitz.

“Radical Ruben Gallego won’t be able to hide from his Far-Left policies, voting record, and unwavering support of the Biden agenda that has caused the humanitarian, national security, and fentanyl crisis that Arizonans are facing everyday,” the Lake campaign said in a statement upon announcing the ad buy. “As Arizona’s next U.S. Senator, Kari Lake will make it her #1 priority to secure our border and make our neighborhoods, our streets, and our state safe again.”

Gallego’s campaign hit back against the Lake-NRSC ad, pointing out for example that Lake opposed a bipartisan border bill that ultimately fell apart earlier this year, while Gallego had supported it.

“Kari Lake is a power hungry liar who will do or say anything to gain power – even join national Republicans in launching desperate, false attacks on Ruben’s record,” Goss said in a statement.

“Ruben is laser-focused on bringing people together to address the border crisis  — even when it means pushing back on his own party to stand up for Arizonans — which is exactly why he will defeat Kari Lake this November.”

The competing ad campaigns come as recent polling has shown Gallego leading Lake in the Arizona Senate race, though sometimes within the poll’s margin of error. Lake has sought to make amends with skeptical Republicans this cycle after isolating them during her gubernatorial run and has received the backing of the NRSC.

Yet, Lake’s resistance to dropping objections over the 2022 election results when she lost the Arizona gubernatorial race against Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) and some of her controversial rhetoric, including quipping that voters should “strap on a Glock,” are complicating her race.

Meanwhile, Gallego has sought to eschew some of his progressive bona fides, including letting his membership with the Congressional Progressive Caucus lapse.

This story was updated at 5:40 p.m.

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