Blake Masters: Arizona GOP Senate candidate attempts to soften anti-abortion stance in pivot to general election

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CNN

Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters tried to water down his stance on abortion on Thursday by removing his support for a “federal personality law” and a host of other strict anti-abortion stances from his website, while releasing a video showing the Republican candidate made a softer statement. position on the matter.

The shift signals the potential of abortion in the 2022 midterms and the fact that Republican candidates, many of whom supported tough abortion restrictions during their primaries, now believe they must soften those positions as they face a broader, less conservative electorate.

Masters’ website previously said he was “100% pro-life” and noted that he supported a constitutional amendment that “recognizes that unborn babies are people who should not be killed” and the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and a slew of other legislation that would make it illegal to perform an abortion 20 weeks after conception.

Masters called himself “unashamedly pro-life” in a 2021 interview, arguing that the “federal government has a role to play” in the abortion debate by recognizing “federal personality” at some point in pregnancy, leading to ” absolutely no abortions” beyond that point. He also said abortion rights activists were “demonic” and that abortion is a “religious sacrifice to these people.”

Masters now wants to change those views, with his website using more careful and less specific language about abortion and releasing a video that appears to have the candidate downplayed his strict stances.

Rather than saying he supports a broad constitutional amendment on abortion, Masters’ website now says he supports one that specifically “bans late-term (third-trimester) abortion and partial abortion at the federal level.” Rather than listing the litany of abortion laws he supports, the website now broadly states that he “supports pro-life legislation, maternity centers and programs that make it easier for pregnant women to support and support a family.” to decide to choose life.” And while its website previously noted its support for ending “taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, all other abortionists, and any organization that promotes abortion,” it now singles out Planned Parenthood, removing the reference to “abortion” and other groups.

Archived versions of the website are not available on the Wayback Machine, a popular Internet archive, but screenshots have been provided to CNN. NBC News first reported on the changes to the Masters website.

A person close to Masters told CNN that the Republican nominee designs, codes, and updates his website himself — and that his recent abortion section updates reflect his desire to use his policy section as a “living document” rather than an immutable record of his positions.

This person said that Masters’ views have not changed and that he still holds the positions he removed from the site.

A Masters spokesperson reiterated this in a statement to CNN.

“Blake is 100% pro-life. That hasn’t changed,” said Zach Henry, Masters campaign communications officer.

A campaign spokesman for Sen. Masters’ Democratic opponent Mark Kelly slammed the Republican for the attempted shift.

“If Blake Masters thinks he can quietly remove passages from his website and disguise how unreachable and dangerous his abortion stance is, he’s in for a rude awakening,” said Sarah Guggenheimer. “No embarrassing pivot can hide the truth: Masters has called abortion ‘demonic’, a ‘religious sacrifice’ and supports a national abortion ban. Arizonans know the truth and will not fall for it.”

Kelly Dupps, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Votes in Arizona, called Masters’ move “desperate” and “sad but not surprising.”

The person close to Masters said that although his website has removed the reference to his support for a federal personality law, Masters still supports a version of that idea. This person pointed to an interview earlier this month with The Arizona Republic in which Masters said he viewed the concept of “personality” as beginning during the third trimester of pregnancy, which is later than other proposed personality protection legislation would have. provide to fetuses.

Around the same time he was editing his website, Masters tweeted a campaign video declaring his views on abortion as “common sense,” using his updated views to attack Kelly.

“Look, I support a ban on very late-term abortion and partial birth. And most Americans agree,” he says in the video.

Masters’ shift shows the difficult position some Republicans find themselves in on abortion, especially those operating in competitive states. Since the US Supreme Court overthrown Roe v. Wade earlier this year, a series of elections has signaled Democratic enthusiasm over the issue of abortion. election by making abortion the pinnacle of his campaign.

“It’s no surprise that Republicans are trying to mislead voters and hide their very unpopular views on abortion rights,” said Christina Reynolds, a top official at EMILY’s List, which supports Democratic female candidates who support abortion rights. “They know that voters are willing to hold the people who are stripped of their rights accountable and they are concerned about their elections.”

Masters’ race against Kelly is one of the most watched Senate campaigns of the midterms of 2022. Kelly has amassed a significant war chest in the race against Masters, raising $13.6 million in the second quarter of 2022 alone. Kelly has used the money to cover the state with advertisements and spent about $16 million on television and radio advertisements between early May and late August.

However, Masters was stuck in a controversial Senate primaries until early August, spending only a fraction of that on television ads during that same time. While Republican groups and committees plan to spend millions on behalf of Masters for the general election, some Republicans are concerned that Kelly’s ability to define his Republican opponent early could make it difficult to win over voters in the last three months. of the campaign.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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