“Mark Kelly won the debate for me.”

“I don’t trust Blake Masters…he says one thing and then another—he seems desperate.” —Registered Independent, Thomas Jarvis, when asked who won the debate between Sen. Mark Kelly and his GOP opponent, Blake Masters on Thursday


Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Mark Kelly won the debate

Nicole White, Reporter

In a heated debate for the Az. U.S. Senate seat, GOP candidate Blake Masters attacked Sen. Mark Kelly (D) right out of the gate and steered to the very issue that has plagued the Master’s campaign since his virulent description of abortion rights advocates.

Ever since Blake Master’s described pro-abortion rights advocates as participating in “a religious sacrifice” and abortion as “demonic” his campaign has tried to reframe its stance…but his on the record words and militant attack on abortion rights in his early campaign remain a strong image in the minds of many Arizona voters.

Masters tried to flip that perception during the Thursday night debate by accusing Sen. Kelly of being the “extreme” one on abortion—but Kelly’s stance on abortion rights have remained consistent since he took office.

Northeast Valley News spoke to several registered independent voters in the Valley— post-debate— and the remarks were similar.

Masters was seen as “on the attack of Mark Kelly…Blake Masters looked like he was going to run out of breath” according to Phoenix resident, Kacey Upton.

Upton has decided her vote largely over Masters extreme anti-abortion stance.

Upton was also unmoved by Master’s claim that Kelly is tied to the hip with President Biden.

For Upton, Sen. Kelly has been the “most independent and fair minded” elected official in Arizona.

Another Valley registered independent, Thomas Jarvis of Tempe, has kept up on the U.S. senate race and early on was leaning Republican—but based on a video where he saw Master’s speech about privatizing Social Security…and then backed off that stance once it became clear how unpopular it was, Jarvis became “suspicious of Masters.”

When Northeast Valley News asked, “Who won the debate?” Jarvis quipped,

“Mark Kelly won the debate for me—I don’t trust Blake Masters…he says one thing and then another—he seems desperate.”

Jarvis referred to several flip flops in the Masters campaign, but specifically his harsh stance on abortion rights even though the Valley independent voter considers himself pro-life, Jarvis has two daughters and does not want their personal rights saddled by government interference.

Jarvis was also swayed against the GOP candidate after Master’s declared that Social Security should be privatized.

Masters has also been a staunch election denier.

During the primary in Arizona, rhetoric about the 2020 presidential election on the Blake Masters campaign website was listed as “a rotten mess” and, “If we had a free and fair election, President [Donald] Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office today.”

But according to CNN, Master’s election denials were removed.

This is one of several of the hardline stances that have vanished from the Master’s campaign website.

Softening and even making some stark about-face statements over issues that Master’s has voraciously asserted, on the record, appear to be his new campaign strategy.

But Mr. Masters may simply be taking a page from other GOP candidates that are veering off their own hardline lanes after losing ground on issues like federal mandates against abortion rights and even criminalizing birth control.

Blake Master’s references to pro-abortion rights as “demonic” came after Masters responded to a question posed to him on a podcast regarding banning abortion on a national level…when asked by the host, “Would you support a similar statue?” Masters replied,

“Yeah—it’s a religious sacrifice to these people, I think it’s demonic.”

Master’s campaign website, according to NBC News, has been overhauled, “rewriting or erasing five of his six positions” including a now deleted stance on the site that once stated support for “a federal personhood law (ideally a Constitutional Amendment) that recognized that unborn babies are human beings that may not be killed.”

Also removed, according to NBC News, the language that said, “I am 100% pro-life.”

Even though much of Master’s hardline rhetoric is nowhere to be found on his campaign website, the “demonic” statement regarding abortion rights, the privatizing of Social Security speech, the offensive references to affirmative action found within tweets and blaming Black people for America’s gun violence…remain on that early and rigid campaign map and—widely reported online.

The Masters campaign has not responded to Northeast Valley News request for an interview.