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Prominent pro-Trump couple to fundraise for Senate candidates

Along with Matt and Mercedes Schlapp, co-hosts for a Wednesday fundraiser for Blake Masters include Chad Wolf, Trump’s acting Homeland Security secretary

Former president Donald Trump stands with Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters at a “Save America” rally in support of Arizona GOP candidates on July 22 in Prescott Valley, Ariz. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, and his wife, Mercedes, a former director of strategic communications in the Trump White House, are hosting Blake Masters, the Republican nominee for Senate in Arizona, at a high-dollar fundraiser on Wednesday, according to an invitation obtained by The Washington Post.

The couple are prominent allies of former president Donald Trump. Matt Schlapp told The Post that they are also hosting an event for Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night and a cigar reception for Adam Laxalt, the Senate nominee in Nevada, after Wednesday’s event with Masters.

The invitation for the Masters fundraiser identifies additional hosts, including Chad Wolf, Trump’s former acting Homeland Security secretary, and Duke Buchan, the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Event co-chairs will contribute $5,800 apiece, co-hosts $2,900 and general attendees $1,000.

Masters is seeking to narrow a yawning cash gap with his opponent, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, who had nearly $25 million in his main campaign account as of the middle of last month. Masters, by contrast, had $1.5 million in his main account.

Masters also has a fundraiser scheduled this week with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), according to a person familiar with the plans. The event is the second this month with the Republican leader, who is vying for control of the Senate. At the same time, a McConnell-aligned super PAC earlier this month abandoned about $8 million worth of TV, radio and digital ads originally booked to boost Masters, saying it was redirecting the resources to other competitive races.

McConnell and a top fundraiser for the PAC asked Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor who had bankrolled a super PAC supporting Masters in the primary, to split the cost, among other proposals — suggestions rebuffed by the investor. Masters is a longtime friend and former employee of Thiel’s. Masters has since received significant backing from other entities, including a planned $5 million in independent expenditures by a super PAC associated with Heritage Action for America, the conservative nonprofit and advocacy organization.

The Schlapps have not contributed major sums to candidates so far this cycle, according to federal records. Matt Schlapp previously endorsed Masters’s primary opponent, businessman Jim Lamon, and gave him $2,000 last year. Lamon’s campaign paid $180,000 over the course of the primary to Schlapp’s lobbying and communications firm, Cove Strategies.

The American Conservative Union’s flagship Conservative Political Action Conference also endorsed Lamon, though an online announcement of that move can no longer be found. Axios, which previously reported on CPAC’s endorsement of Lamon, quoted an ACU board member who said Schlapp’s consulting role was disclosed during the endorsement process, which is carried out by the board.

Masters ultimately won Trump’s endorsement and beat Lamon by more than 10 percentage points.

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What the results mean for 2024: A Republican Party red wave seems to be a ripple after Republicans fell short in the Senate and narrowly won control in the House. Donald Trump announced his 2024 presidential campaign on Tuesday, experts helped us game out what would happen if he wins again.

Key issue: Abortion rights advocates scored major victories in the first nationwide election since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Here’s how abortion access fared on the ballot in nine states.

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