Alex Isenstadt of Politico writes that Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is positioning himself to play a bigger role in GOP politics. He continues (abridged):
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is endorsing Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, flexing his muscle in a high-profile Republican primary and cementing a new ideological alliance shaping the midterm election.
Hawley — who is widely regarded as a prospective 2024 presidential contender — has now thrown his support to two of the most outspoken Republican populists running for Senate this year: Masters and Ohio Republican J.D. Vance. In both cases, Hawley is inserting himself into competitive primaries and backing candidates with notably anti-political establishment rhetoric and ideology.
The Missouri Republican lavished praise on Masters in a statement to be released Monday, saying he “understands the threats our country faces — from the Chinese Communist Party to the corrupt Big Tech monopolies to the political elite determined to take apart our way of life,” and adding: “We need new leaders who will fight for this country.”
Masters is running in a competitive primary that also features state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, wealthy solar energy executive Jim Lamon, and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mick McGuire. While former President Donald Trump has endorsed Vance, he has yet to declare his support for a candidate in the Arizona primary, which is set for Aug. 2. Trump, however, recently said he would be endorsing in the race “in the not too distant future.”
Hawley, Masters, and Vance share deep ties — including a common benefactor: tech billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel has contributed $10 million to a super PAC backing Masters, his former de facto chief of staff, as well as $13.5 million to another group bolstering Vance, a venture capitalist and the author of the book “Hillbilly Elegy.” Thiel, a PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor who has emerged as one of the Republican Party’s most prominent donors, gave six figures to Hawley’s 2016 campaign for state attorney general and cut max-out checks to his 2018 Senate campaign.
Hawley and Thiel’s relationship dates back roughly two decades, to when the senator was an undergraduate student at Stanford University. The two have remained in touch since: They have made regular appearances at the National Conservative Conference, an annual populist-oriented gathering of high-profile conservatives. Thiel, Hawley and Vance were keynote speakers at last year’s conference in Orlando, Fla. […]
Whether Hawley engages in other races remains unclear, though advisers say he is being courted by candidates for his support. He has also endorsed in his home-state Senate race, where he is backing Rep. Vicky Hartzler in the race to succeed GOP Sen. Roy Blunt, who is retiring.
Regardless of whether Hawley is preparing to run for president, many Republicans are convinced the Missouri Republican is positioning himself to play a bigger role in GOP politics.
“He is smartly doing what he can to help elect some ideological allies to join the fight with him,” said Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist who is advising Vance and a pro-Masters super PAC.
Read the full article here.