Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich launches bid to unseat Sen. Mark Kelly

Branovich is the third leading candidate to seek the Republican nomination, taking on Democrat Kelly.

PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Branovich announced Thursday that he is running for the US Senate, becoming the third major candidate to seek the Republican nomination to take on Democrat Mark Kelly.

Branovich, who is in his second term as the state’s top law-enforcement official, is the best-known GOP candidate and the only person with political experience.

In a video announcement, Brnovi described himself as the son of immigrants who fled communism in Yugoslavia. He says he used his position as attorney general to take down “crony capitalists” and government overreach, while promoting religious freedom, border security and electoral integrity.

“We need an Arizona conservative in Washington who stands up for us and our values,” Branovich said in the video. “There is someone who has been tested. There is someone who will not run away and hide at the first sign of trouble.”

Branovich has drawn the ire of former President Donald Trump, who could become a major liability in the crowded GOP primary. Trump has repeatedly called Branovich “weak” and said he would “get nowhere” in support of an audit of Maricopa County election results by state Senate Republicans.

Trump and many of his most loyal supporters have dismissed infamous allegations of widespread election fraud in Arizona and elsewhere, which they claim cost him re-election. Branovich, Gov. Doug Ducey and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs testified to Arizona’s election results showing a narrow victory for Democrat Joe Biden.

“Our country needs Attorney General Mark Branovich, who has done little so far on voter integrity and the 2020 presidential election scandal,” Trump wrote in a statement earlier this month.

Branovich downplayed the president’s feud, saying he couldn’t worry about what anyone else did.

“I want this race to be about what I believe in and what I stand for,” Branovich said in a brief interview. “The media focuses so much on things that no one can control. They don’t want to care about what I stand for, what I believe in, and the record I have.”

Solar energy entrepreneur Jim Laman and retired Air Force Major General Michael “Mick” McGuire, both political newcomers, have also announced plans to receive GOP nominations. US Representative Andy Biggs has said he is considering a run but has not announced a decision. Blake Masters, who worked closely with billionaire Peter Thiel, may also run.

Retired astronaut Kelly won a special election last year to end the late John McCain’s Senate term. He is now running for a full six-year term. The race is one of the most high-profile contests in 2022 and will help determine which party controls the US Senate.

As attorney general, Branovich has picked up a number of high-profile fights, including suing the Arizona Board of Regents—which is usually his client—over plans to build a hotel at Arizona State University. He has also asked the US Supreme Court to invalidate part of the Voting Rights Act in a high-stakes case filed by the Democratic National Committee; A decision is expected in the coming weeks.

Democrats immediately indicated they would highlight their support for a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, a health care law called “Obamacare.” Democrats effectively used opposition to the law against Republicans in 2018 and 2020.

Before being elected attorney general in 2014, Branovich was a federal prosecutor and head of the state gaming department, which regulates gambling.

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