Arizona Senate race debate: Democrat Mark Kelly, Republican Blake Masters conflict over immigration, abortion

Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Republican challenger Blake Masters took to the controversy stage in Phoenix Thursday night, the place the 2 clashed over President Joe Biden’s dealing with of the U.S. economic system, border safety, and reproductive rights.

The candidates opened the controversy by highlighting how excessive inflation has crippled client spending throughout the nation. Masters particularly shared a narrative of how some mother and father are having to forgo meals to allow them to higher afford to feed their youngsters.

“This crushing inflation is ruining individuals’s lives,” Masters instructed debate moderator Ted Simons. “I had mother and father come as much as me two weeks in the past to a marketing campaign occasion. They mentioned Blake, we do not eat breakfast anymore. We drink espresso. We drink espresso in order that we will afford to feed our youngsters breakfast. And that is on you, sir. That is the Joe Biden-Mark Kelly economic system.”

Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, left, and his Republican challenger Blake Masters, proper, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. 
(AP Photograph/Ross D. Franklin)

Kelly, a former astronaut, was narrowly elected in 2020 to serve the rest of late Republican Sen. John McCain’s time period, mentioned the COVID-19 pandemic, which he known as “one thing unprecedented,” was squarely in charge for the present financial disaster.

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“Two and a half years in the past, we went by way of one thing unprecedented. You understand, COVID-19, faculties needed to shut down. Companies shut down throughout Arizona,” he mentioned. “Generally the federal authorities has to step in to avoid wasting small enterprise. You understand, they must step in to guard livelihoods.”

Masters, a enterprise capitalist, who’s backed by former President Donald Trump, rebutted, saying Biden continues to needlessly spend cash, exacerbating the inflation drawback.

“Joe Biden is spending like a drunken sailor at each single alternative. Mark Kelly simply says sure. He cannot say no to [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer. He cannot say no to Joe Biden,” the Republican mentioned.

Republican Senate challenger Blake Masters smiles on stage prior to a televised debate with Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Libertarian candidate Marc Victor in Phoenix, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. 

Republican Senate challenger Blake Masters smiles on stage previous to a televised debate with Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Libertarian candidate Marc Victor in Phoenix, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. 
(AP Photograph/Ross D. Franklin)

He added: “At the least Senator Sinema stopped Construct Again Higher. My gosh, you had been able to vote for that. That might have simply ruined our economic system.”

The candidates then tackled border safety and immigration.

Whereas each candidates advocated for a safer border, Kelly pointed to Washington’s — and Biden’s — failure to assist alleviate an overwhelmed Border Patrol and to mitigate file ranges of immigration. The Democrat was combating for Arizonans although, he argued.

“I have been sturdy on border safety and I’ve stood as much as Democrats once they’re mistaken on this situation together with the president,” Kelly mentioned. “When the president determined he was going to do one thing dumb on this and alter the principles, , that may create an even bigger disaster.”

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The Democrat added: “You understand, I instructed him he was mistaken. So I pushed again on this administration a number of instances. And I’ve obtained more cash on the bottom to extend Border Patrol staffing know-how and the place it is sensible to construct extra obstacles.”

Staying on message, Kelly once more pointed to Washington and celebration leaders, together with the president, for failing to safe the border.

“Washington, D.C. has failed on the border,” Kelly continued. “Washington, D.C. has failed on this situation of border safety and immigration for many years. And it has been disaster after disaster. I have been targeted on this since day one, , and I introduced extra sources right here to the state of Arizona to take care of it.”

Masters countered by saying Kelly was merely not doing sufficient to assist defend Arizona from a few of the risks concerned with not correctly vetting these crossing into the nation.

He additionally identified that Kelly voted in opposition to an modification that may have allowed the hiring of 18,000 extra Border Patrol brokers. 

“If that is the results of Senator Kelly being targeted on the border, my gosh, he is essentially the most ineffective and worst senator of all time,” Masters mentioned. “The border is vast open. Persons are strolling by way of by the a whole bunch of 1000’s.”

“Mark Kelly voted for extra IRS brokers no more Border Patrol brokers,” the Republican added.

The 2 candidates additionally clashed over abortion and reproductive care, a problem that has risen in reputation amongst potential voters after the U.S. Supreme Court docket overturned Roe v. Wade over the summer time.

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Masters mentioned he helps an abortion restrict set at 15 weeks of being pregnant, matching a proposal from South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“I assist limits on the federal stage,” the Republican mentioned. “Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed a fifteen-week invoice with the frequent exceptions and I assist that. I consider in limits.”

"Arizona Horizon" host and managing editor Ted Simons sits on the set as members of the media cover Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, Republican candidate Blake Masters, and Libertarian candidate Marc Victor prior to a televised debate in Phoenix, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. 

“Arizona Horizon” host and managing editor Ted Simons sits on the set as members of the media cowl Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, Republican candidate Blake Masters, and Libertarian candidate Marc Victor previous to a televised debate in Phoenix, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. 
(AP Photograph/Ross D. Franklin)

Masters mentioned Kelly, who has advocated for codifying a constitutional proper for girls to have an abortion, believes in “no limits” concerning abortions.

Kelly pushed again calling the excessive courtroom’s choice “devastating” and “mistaken” and argued Masters would fully roll again abortion procedures within the state.  

“Let me be completely clear. Arizona girls have completely misplaced the proper to decide about abortion. It is devastating. It is mistaken. And it is precisely what my opponent, Blake Masters, needs,” he mentioned.

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The occasion was their solely debate forward of November’s midterm elections that are simply over a month away.

The talk was hosted by Arizona PBS and the Arizona Residents Clear Elections Fee and the 2 frontrunners had been joined by Libertarian nominee Marc Victor.

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