In recent election cycles, specifically since 2016, Trafalgar Group has proven to be a reliable source for polling information. There is some good news for Republicans looking to take back the Senate seat now held by Democrat Mark Kelly in Trafalgar’s latest poll. Released on Sunday, the poll shows a very slight edge for Kelly. The incumbent senator leads Republican candidate Blake Masters by only 1.2 percent.
Is Kelly in some real trouble here? This race has really tightened up. Those polled were likely voters, not registered voters, who are more of a reliable measurement for pollsters. Trafalgar is more fair and balanced, so to speak than most pollsters. The majority of polls tend to oversample Democrat voters and it skews the results in their favor. Then, when Republicans win, everyone is so surprised. Trafalgar typically has an ear to the ground for the other half of voters, the Republican voters.
Before anyone gets out of sorts that I point out Trafalgar is showing the race tightening, it can also be noted that so does the latest Emerson poll. Both Trafalgar and Emerson show a 2 percentage lead for Kelly in polling at RCP aggregate averaging. The Trafalgar poll is the latest, taken from 9/14 – 9/17 and the Emerson poll was taken between 9/6 to 9/7.
The number of undecided in the Trafalgar poll is 5.3%. The news is strong enough that the Cook Political Report has changed the race to “toss-up.”
The polling comes roughly 50 days out from the November midterms, and the Arizona Senate race is considered critical for determining which party controls the upper chamber. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the Senate race as ”toss up.”
Kelly has been campaigning on Biden’s recent legislative victories like the Inflation Reduction Act. Masters campaigns on issues affecting most Arizona like crime and immigration.
Democrats are using social media posts to campaign against Masters. After the Supreme Court ruled on the Dobbs case, NBC News went after Masters for his stance on abortion. Then the network reported that the campaign scrubbed some of his website in late August.
In an ad posted to Twitter on Thursday, Masters sought to portray his opponent, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, as the extremist on the issue while describing his own views as “commonsense.”
“Look, I support a ban on very late-term and partial-birth abortion,” he said. “And most Americans agree with that. That would just put us on par with other civilized nations.” (Late-term abortions are extremely rare, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker.)
Just after it released the ad, Masters’ campaign published an overhaul of his website and softened his rhetoric, rewriting or erasing five of his six positions. NBC News took screenshots of the website before and after it was changed. Masters’ website appeared to have been refreshed after NBC News reached out for clarification about his abortion stances.
“I am 100% pro-life,” Masters’ website read as of Thursday morning.
That language is now gone.
Another notable deletion: a line that detailed his support for “a federal personhood law (ideally a Constitutional amendment) that recognizes that unborn babies are human beings that may not be killed.”
Mark Kelly is lying about my views on abortion — the Democrats have to do that because their own position (no limits of any kind, ever) is so extreme. Here’s the truth. pic.twitter.com/O2kqR9UcAB
— Blake Masters (@bgmasters) August 25, 2022
You be the judge. He seems to have moderated his views on abortion to showcase the extremism of most Democrats on the subject and has turned to views held by the majority of Americans, not just conservative voters.
A group of progressive veterans is attacking Masters for emails sent during his college days about the attacks on 9/11/01 and the war in Iraq. Masters is 35 years old now. Nonetheless, the Arizona Democrat Party got about seven veterans in Tucson to hold a press conference denouncing Masters and his “incendiary comments” about the military. Most of them don’t like Kyrsten Sinema, either, apparently.
“A man like Blake Masters, who has no respect for our service – he has no business representing us anywhere, let alone at the U.S. Senate,” said Air Force veteran Sylvia Gonzalez Andersh, during a press event Thursday afternoon organized by the Arizona Democratic Party.
Andersh is a member of #WeAreCommonDefense, a progressive veterans group, and was part of a group of five veterans who resigned from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s veterans advisory council in protest last year.
During the event Andersh pointed to recently revealed emails Masters wrote about 9/11, and the ensuing Iraq war as proof that he lacks respect for service members. The emails were sent while Masters was in college, and in them he defended the right to disseminate conspiracy theories about 9/11 and questioned the “story we’ve been told” about the tragic event.
“Thousands of Americans lost their lives on that horrible day. And many, too many, of my fellow men and women paid the ultimate price in the conflicts that followed. With his words, Blake Masters dishonors their service and he dishonors their memory,” Andersh said, her voice breaking.
In November 2021, Masters released a video on Twitter criticizing “woke generals” and calling on them to be fired.
Our top generals have turned into woke corporate bozos, and our troops deserve better. pic.twitter.com/kC4fgSeEZR
— Blake Masters (@bgmasters) November 16, 2021
Progressive veterans in Tucson may not like hearing that but many Americans are disappointed with current military leadership, especially after the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, including one veteran living in my home. Arizona residents include about 9% veterans. I guess we’ll see how many agree with this group.
One veteran acknowledged Masters’ right to criticize the military but since he hasn’t served in the military, maybe he should sign up for the Army National Guard.
“He’s still young enough to join. If he’s got so many things he’s going to do to change the military – he’s 35 years old, there’s a recruiting station I can take him to right now and he can join the Army National Guard today,” she said.
That’s weak sauce. Can’t the progressives in the Arizona Democrat Party do better? It looks like Masters is making some progress in the race and they are grasping at straws. Mark Kelly continues to run from Biden and has not asked him to campaign in Arizona.
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) appeared in a television interview in which he discussed his election race against Republican nominee Blake Masters as well as Biden’s performance as president. When asked if he would support Biden in a 2024 reelection campaign, Kelly seemed to dodge the question, according to Arizona’s Family.
“Hey, it’s not my job to decide whether or not he should run,” Kelly said. “If he runs, I’ll support him.”
Kelly also did not say if he would want to campaign with Biden at an event in Arizona, saying he “could be in Washington voting on important legislation” and that it would “depend on what the event was.”
Senator Kelly won the seat in a special election after John McCain died. He is running for a full term now. He’s been a back-bencher in the Senate since he got there with no legislative victories to point to as a reason to keep the seat. His record is one of loyally voting for Biden’s agenda. This would be a good seat for Republicans to flip in November. Right now, that’s looking pretty good.