Arizona Senate Candidate Masters Threatens Government Shutdown Over Border (Newsmax)
By Charlie McCarthy | Monday, 10 October 2022 10:02 AM EDT
Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters threatened to play "hardball" with President Joe Biden over the southern border crisis.
Masters told The Washington Times that, if elected, he's willing to support a shutdown of the federal government to force Biden to address the crisis.
"I'm willing to go there," Masters told the Times during an interview in the border city of Nogales, Arizona.
Masters, running against Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., told the Times that Republicans should be willing to "play hardball."
"By exercising that leverage, I think we will win. I think he [Biden] will capitulate," added Masters, who in June was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Masters, a 36-year-old venture capitalist candidate, said that if Republicans stick together, they can force Biden to change course on the border by offering their votes in favor of spending bills to keep the federal government running.
"'Go ahead, Mr. President, your move.' What's he going to do? He's going to shut the government down and try to blame Republicans?" Masters told the Times.
"No, we're going to say, 'Hey, he's not securing the border.' If Biden wants to shut the government down and tell the American people that he'd prefer to do that over having border security, that's a political loser."
Although Kelly, a 58-year-old former astronaut, has tried to distance himself from Biden on immigration, Masters said Arizonans are choosing between the president's policies and a new direction.
Masters, a political newcomer, won the GOP nomination after getting a massive financial boost from billionaire Peter Thiel.
After a debate with Kelly last week, Masters told customers at a diner in Rio Rico, Arizona, that he had exposed Kelly.
"I said, 'Senator, did you do everything in your power the last two years to secure our southern border?' That is not a 'gotcha' question; that's a fair question," Masters said. "Now, it is a tough one for him to answer because if he says yes, well, he is confessing to be ineffective. If he says no, then, well … you're not trying to secure the border?
"His record is indefensible."
The Times reported that although pro-choice Kelly holds an advantage on the abortion issue, Masters has an edge on the economy, inflation, and immigration.
Migrant encounters are at all-time highs, with illegal drugs such as fentanyl pouring into the U.S. at record levels. The Times calculated that the migrant smuggling economy is now worth $20 billion a year.
Of roughly 200,000 illegal immigrants nabbed in the Border Patrol's Yuma sector since January, 95% were released, according to the local sheriff, the Times reported.
The Arizona U.S. Senate race also includes Libertarian Marc Victor, who pollsters say is a wild card in the race.