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What Arizonans Are Reading: At Debate, Senator Kelly Exposed Blake Masters On Abortion, Social Security

October 8, 2022

On Thursday night, Senator Kelly took to the debate stage to tell Arizonans about his work to cut through political noise to lower costs, build an economy that works for everyone, not just big corporations, and protect a woman’s right to make her own choices, including the decision to have an abortion.  Along the way, Kelly held Blake Masters accountable for his comments about abortion, calling it “demonic” and supporting a total, national abortion ban, and for his dangerous proposition to “cut the knot” of Social Security.

See what reporters are saying about the debate:

Arizona Mirror: Mark Kelly and Blake Masters squared off Thursday in their only debate

Kelly said he believes Roe v. Wade should be codified into law. 

“Arizona women have totally lost the right to make their own decision about abortion,” Kelly said, referring to Arizona’s full abortion ban that went into effect Sept. 23. 

Masters said he is pro-life, but would support the 15-week ban approved by the state Legislature earlier this year. That’s the law that Gov. Doug Ducey says is currently in effect, but Attorney General Mark Brnovich and many other authorities say Arizona’s full ban dating to 1864 is the law of the land. 

But he continually dodged a question from moderator Ted Simons, who asked about language on his website regarding abortion that was changed after he won the Republican primary. Masters had previously said he was pro-life from the point of conception, endorsed a nationwide ban on all abortions and had been accused of changing the language to win over moderates.

NBC: Kelly breaks with Biden over ‘dumb’ decision on immigration in heated Arizona Senate debate

Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., broke with his party over the hot-button issue of immigration at a debate Thursday, highlighting his differences with progressives over policy and rebuking Democratic leaders in unusually stark terms.

“I’ve spent a lot of time on our southern border, and let me just say it’s a mess. It’s a chaos. It’s crisis after crisis,” Kelly said. “I worked in Washington to bring more Border Patrol agents to the state of Arizona.

“I’ve been strong on border security. And I’ve stood up to Democrats when they’re wrong on this issue — including the president,” Kelly continued. “When the president decided he was going to do something dumb on this and change the rules that would create a bigger crisis, I told him he was wrong. So I pushed back on this administration multiple times.” […]

Kelly, a former Navy pilot and astronaut, assailed Masters for his position on abortion, previous calls to privatize Social Security, comments about the validity of the 2020 election and criticisms of the U.S. military. Masters, a venture capitalist and former deputy to billionaire tech mogul Peter Thiel, sought to tie Kelly to rising inflation while defending his opposition to abortion, his skepticism about the 2020 election and his criticisms of the military, which reportedly included opposition to U.S. involvement in World War II when he was a college student.


New York Times: Kelly and Masters Debate in Crucial Arizona Senate Race

This almost feels like two distinct debates. Kelly is reaching toward independents with his talk of bipartisan work and telling Biden he’s not doing enough about the border. Masters sounds at times like he’s running a Republican primary debate to excite the base by delving into the Hunter Biden laptop story.


AP News: Kelly criticizes Biden, Masters backtracks in Senate debate

During the GOP primary, Masters said abortion was “demonic” and called for a federal personhood law that would give fetuses the rights of people.

Kelly said abortion should be a personal decision and said he supports limits from Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned last summer that guaranteed a right to an abortion.

“I think we all know guys like this, guys that think they know better than everyone about everything,” Kelly said, turning to Masters. “You think you know better than women and doctors about abortion.”


KTAR News: Arizona US Senate candidates clash over views on abortion in debate

. . . Kelly said he’s always been clear of his support for Roe vs. Wade, adding that he believes in the protections and restrictions that were allowed under the previous law.

“Abortion only happens very late in the pregnancy when there are serious issues and folks, it’s heartbreaking when this happens and often the child is wanted,” Kelly said.

The current senator said the overturning of Roe led to women losing their rights to make a decision, calling it devastating and wrong, and “exactly what my opponent Blake Masters wants.”


Arizona Republic: The Senate debate between Kelly, Masters was intense. Will it matter? Here are 4 takeaways

Kelly absorbed most of Masters’ attacks and talked in his characteristically calm fashion. He cited, for example, money he secured for border protection, talked about reining in rising prescription drug prices through legislation and resisting calls to privatize Social Security. […]

But Kelly unloaded what may have been the most memorable lines in the debate answering a question about abortion that turned into a scathing, personal indictment of Masters.

“I think we all know guys like this,” Kelly said in a flash of passion. “Guys that think they know better than everyone about everything.  

“You think you know better than women and doctors about abortion. You even think you know better than seniors about Social Security. You think you know better than veterans about how to win a war. Folks, we all know guys like this, and we can’t be letting them make decisions about us because it’s just dangerous.”


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