Mark Kelly Schools Blake Masters At AZ Senate Debate

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During a Senate debate this week in Arizona, Sen. Mark Kelly (D) faced off with Trump-backed Republican Blake Masters, against whom he is running for re-election. Kelly repeatedly tore into Masters’s previous and sometimes shifting rhetoric about issues including reproductive rights and election integrity.

Kelly consistently lands ahead of Masters in polling, although certain polls’ margins, combined with basic political realities on the ground in Arizona like the state’s historical Republican lean, make clear the race remains close. Kelly brought up Masters, who has never previously held elected office, referring to abortion as “demonic.” It’s another indication of his extremism, which he can’t erase from existence by altering his campaign website (which has been done). “My opponent? Remember what he has said,” Kelly told debate listeners. “He supports a national abortion ban that criminalizes this decision. He has said — and this isn’t like, years ago. He has said very recently that he wants to punish the doctors. He’s called abortion “demonic,” a religious sacrifice — I don’t even know what that means, folks. But, what I’m doing is I am protecting your constitutional rights that you have lost because of rhetoric like this.”

Masters made his disconnection from reality in favor of the far-right cause fairly clear with his description of the border. “Joe Biden and Mark Kelly, they laid out the welcome mat,” Masters alleged. “They surrendered our southern border. They’ve given it up to the Mexican drug cartels.” Obviously, that characterization doesn’t reflect reality — people arriving at the southern border are still getting turned away in significant number in connection to restrictions originally imposed in the pandemic era, with the Biden administration complying with court directives on that front, and broadly, nobody handed over the border. The problem is — well, one of the problems are — Masters could push a policy agenda in line with these delusions if elected.

Kelly also addressed Masters previously paying lip service to election-related conspiracy theories. The Republican candidate is seemingly acknowledging there wasn’t widespread fraud during the 2020 election involving switching or deleting votes — or anything similar — but he suggested during the debate Trump would have won if not for meddling by “Big Tech” and “Big Media” colluding with the FBI. He was seemingly referencing recent comments from Mark Zuckerberg that a damaging news story about Hunter Biden was suppressed on the platform after a warning from the FBI — but the agency didn’t directly address anything about Hunter Biden, and it didn’t force Facebook to do anything. There were simply broad concerns about potentially foreign information operations.

“The only reason that we’re having this conversation is because my opponent Blake Masters put out a video questioning who won the presidential election here in the state of Arizona,” Kelly added at the debate. “That election — let’s go back to 2020 — that was certified by Democrats and Republicans… These are conspiracies and lies that have no place in our democracy. I’m worried about what’s going to happen here, this election in 2024. We could wind up in a situation where the wheels come off of our democracy, and it’s because of folks like Blake Masters that are questioning the integrity of an election… I encourage you to vote. Our democracy is stronger when everybody votes. My opponent wants to make that harder for everybody.”

Check out some footage below: