Blake Masters said in June, 'You know, senators have a lot of procedural power to hold stuff up.' He plans to use that power.
Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters claims that he would be highly effective if elected. But he has indicated that he does not believe he can work well with anyone who disagrees with him and plans to spend the next two years engaging in obstruction.
"Blake Masters will be one of the most effective, consequential senators ever elected to the United States Senate," his campaign tweeted on Sept. 16.
Days earlier, it asked of his Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly, "What on EARTH has Mark Kelly done for you lately???"
But a review of Masters' statements as a candidate suggests that he is unwilling to work with President Joe Biden, Senate Democrats, or even centrist Senate Republicans to pass legislation and hopes to spend the next two years doing little but blocking nominations, legislation, and funding — even if doing so directly hurts Arizonans.
"We do the best we can, we go in, we block his agenda," he told Fox News on Sept. 11, referring to Biden, "and we use those two years to play offense because Republicans are going to take back the White House in 2024."
Masters has repeatedly indicated that unless Democrats agree to spend billions of dollars to complete former President Donald Trump's failed border wall project — the one Trump promised would be funded entirely by Mexico — he will try to block all government funding, shut down the Department of Homeland Security, prevent Biden from filling vacant positions in the government, and stop all other legislative activity.
Asked by a moderator of a June primary debate about the role of the filibuster in the Senate, Masters responded: "I think the filibuster is what protects these wild swings from the country. All right? So we need the filibuster. And I will use it. You know, senators have a lot of procedural power to hold stuff up, as you said. … In the Senate, one brave senator can do a lot. … We can play hardball. I pledge to you not to vote to fund Biden's Department of Homeland Security unless and until he restarts construction of the border wall."
"I'm not going to give Biden a damn thing unless and until we get some border security. We will hold back every vote. We will hold back every single appointee, not a single piece of funding," he repeated the same phrases during a July 20 meet-and-greet event in Sun City, Arizona. "If Biden wants to shut the government down because he's so obsessed with open borders, let him. Things will grind to a halt. We will blame him. And then I will use the pulpit. I will go on 'Joe Rogan' and 'Tucker Carlson' and humiliate him until he screams for mercy and we get things started again."
Refusal to fund the federal government could imperil the jobs and paychecks of tens of thousands of Arizona residents. By shutting down the Department of Homeland Security, Masters would stop an estimated 3,700 Customs and Border Patrol agents in the state from getting paid and do the same to more than 1,100 Transportation Security Administration security screeners at Arizona airports and other transportation facilities.
Masters repeatedly says that he does not expect to have much success finding common ground with senators on the other side of the aisle.
"I'm not naïve," he told right-wing host Charlie Kirk in December 2021. "I'm not like some: 'Let's work in a bipartisan fashion.' I think you can't work with most Democrats. But I'm happy to work with Democrats if they're actually going to be commonsensical and reasonable."
In a campaign video released in January, Masters said, "Psychopaths are running the country right now"; that same month, he warned during a candidate forum, "I think that if you just don't use state power at all, the progressives will crush you, they will take over, they will implement communism, and it ends in death camps."
He has shown little enthusiasm for collaborating with what he sees as more centrist members of the Senate Republican caucus.
"I can't work with Republicans like [Utah Sen.] Mitt Romney," he said in a Jan. 16 Twitter Space appearance. "Like, we need to get better Republicans. And look, that's not going to happen year one, so, obviously I'll work with, like, whatever colleagues are in the Senate, but I'm on a mission to make sure that, you know, that the 'America First' agenda works, that we actually get people in power not just in 2022, not even just in 2024, but in the next decade and two."
In other appearances, he vowed to "publicly shame," "mock" and "ridicule" Romney, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
He specifically blasted the 19 GOP senators who voted in August 2021 for Biden's bipartisan infrastructure law, telling attendees at an April 24, 2022, campaign event, "And frankly, we're going to have to kick out some RINOs [Republicans in name only] and rebuild this party in an America First direction."
Masters criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a June GOP debate, saying: "I'll tell Mitch this to his face: he's not bad at everything. He's good at judges. He's good at blocking Democrats. You know what he's not good at? Legislating."
A Masters spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.
Democratic incumbent Kelly has received recognition over his two years in the Senate for working with Democratic and Republican colleagues alike.
In a May press release touting his top-25 rating in an annual "Bipartisanship Index" published by the Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, Kelly said: "When I took office, I committed to working with Republicans and Democrats to deliver results for Arizonans. Since then, we've broken through partisan gridlock to pass our historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will create millions of jobs, fix our roads and bridges, and make our state more resilient to drought without raising taxes."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.