Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Blake Masters speaks at a campaign rally attended by former U.S. President Donald Trump at Legacy Sports USA on October 09, 2022 in Mesa, Arizona.

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CNN  — 

A few weeks ago, Republican Blake Masters’ chances of knocking off Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly seemed remote. Kelly had outworked (and outraised) Masters and it appeared as though some national Republicans were writing off the race.

Things look different today. On Thursday, two election forecasts – from the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter and Politico – moved the race from the “lean Democrat” category to “toss up.”

Wrote the Cook Political Report’s Jessica Taylor:

“Talking with multiple sources this week, we have found across the board that Democrats acknowledge this is once again a margin-of-error race. We have seen tightening public polling as well.”

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  • (Worth noting: A CNN poll released earlier this month showed Kelly leading Masters 51% to 45% among likely voters.)

    Taylor noted that though the race was a toss up, it still favored Kelly – albeit slightly. Inside Elections, another campaign tipsheet, rates the race “tilt Democratic.”

    What’s changed from even a few weeks ago in the race? A few things:

    1) Republican Kari Lake is running stronger than expected in the governor’s race against Democrat Katie Hobbs, helping to lift the GOP ticket as a whole.

    2) Joe Biden (as I noted here) simply isn’t popular nationally, and that fact will have a tendency to drag down even the most well-funded and competent of Democratic candidates – which Kelly absolutely is.

    3) After a Mitch McConnell-aligned super PAC pulled out of the race, Masters was getting drubbed on TV. But of late, Donald Trump’s super PAC has begun to spend money to help close the ad gap.

    Masters remains a lackluster candidate whose past controversial comments have been mined time and again by Kelly’s campaign for material for negative ads.

    The Point: Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. And Masters is, right now, benefitting from the rising Republican tide that is lifting GOP candidates around the country.