ELECTION SPOTLIGHT: Arizona Senate candidates Masters and Kelly talk Inflation Reduction Act, midterm opponent

Sen. Mark Kelly and opponent Blake Masters will battle for Arizona's Senate seat this fall.

Arizona's heated Senate race is under the ‘Election Spotlight’ this week, Fox News Digital's series that asks candidates in top races to respond to the policy and political questions that are top of mind for voters across the country.

In this week's edition, Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona and trump-backed Republican nominee Blake Masters told Fox News Digital why they believe they're the best candidate for the Arizona Senate seat, give their thoughts on each other, and discuss the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

According to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 would increase tax revenue by $16.7 billion on Americans earning less than $200,000 a year. Do you support the plan, and is it wise to increase taxes amid a recession?

Kelly: "This is not true. The bill does not raise taxes on middle-class families or small businesses. Period. What it does is close loopholes to make sure that companies with more than a billion dollars in profit pay their fair share, and it cracks down on the wealthiest trying to cheat the system. Senator Sinema and I actually worked to amend the bill on the floor to make sure that the minimum tax didn’t have the unintended consequence of raising taxes on small businesses. Working families are going to end up with more money in their pockets because this bill tackles the rising costs of prescription drugs, health care, and energy. It includes a plan I negotiated to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for the most expensive drugs and to cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 per year."

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"And it also tackles the rising costs of everything from energy prices to life-saving prescription drugs. I’m especially proud that my plan to lower prescription drug prices is included in the final bill as well as $4 billion I secured with other western senators to combat western drought. These measures are desperately needed for Arizonans."

Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., is the Democratic nominee for the Arizona Senate midterm election.

Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., is the Democratic nominee for the Arizona Senate midterm election. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Masters: "You can bet when the Democrats name something the ‘Inflation Reduction Act,’ it’s going to do the exact opposite. They have driven our economy into the ground, and now, by raising taxes and printing hundreds of billions of dollars in the middle of a recession, they’re going to make it even worse. This bill is a disaster. I oppose it."

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Will you support President Biden/former President Trump if he runs for president in 2024?

Kelly: "I’ve got an election in 3 months that I’m focused on, not 2024."

Masters: "President Donald Trump’s accomplishments were impressive: historic low unemployment, energy independence, secure borders, no new wars, middle-class tax cuts, improved trade deals, and criminal justice reform. Four more years of that? Sign me up."

The Biden Administration said this week that it does not support independence for Taiwan. Do you support Taiwanese independence from China?

Kelly: "Taiwan is a critical partner to the United States, and our relationship is based on the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances. That has led to them becoming an important trading partner, and to the United States selling weapon systems to help increase Taiwan’s capabilities. As chair of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, one of my primary roles is to craft defense policy that ensures we maintain our competitive edge over China so that they are discouraged from ever taking action that would result in conflict with the United States. I have worked on two consecutive defense bills that will increase our leadership in cutting edge technologies like artificial intelligence and hypersonic's. And through my work negotiating the CHIPS Act and supporting the Inflation Reduction Act, I have worked to bring manufacturing for everything from microchips and renewable energy to critical minerals back to the United States to reduce our reliance on China."

Masters: "There’s nothing worse than the White House ceding foreign policy to Nancy Pelosi – I support whatever makes America stronger."

Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters is endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters is endorsed by former President Donald Trump. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

What is the biggest difference between you and your opponent?

Kelly: "In the Senate, my focus is on putting Arizona first and working with Republicans and Democrats to deliver results. That’s what I did most recently with my legislation to boost microchip manufacturing in the United States."

"But while I am focused on delivering for my state, my opponent has dangerous ideas that don’t represent Arizona. He calls his political opponents "psychopaths." And take Social Security, for example, I will always protect Social Security for seniors. They’ve paid into their entire lives. But my opponent has said he wants to privatize it. That’s not what Arizonans want."

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Masters: "Mark Kelly pretends to be a moderate, but it’s a lie: he has the most left-wing voting record in the Senate, where he is Joe Biden’s most loyal foot soldier. Kelly also believes in disarming law-abiding Americans and supports abortion on demand up to the moment of birth."

"I am the opposite. I’m running a bold campaign in service of a commonsense agenda that puts Arizonans first. We need to stop Biden’s crazy inflation. We need to stop the southwest border invasion. We need to protect our constitutional rights. Really the difference could not be more stark."

Retired astronaut and Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly with wife Gabrielle Giffords.

Retired astronaut and Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly with wife Gabrielle Giffords. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

What makes you the best candidate for the Arizona Senate?

Kelly: "As a Navy combat veteran and former astronaut, my approach in Washington is different from most elected officials. Serving my country for 25 years, I learned that the political party of the person sitting next to me didn’t matter. All that mattered was taking on the mission and getting the job done."

"I also believe that our government works best when Republicans and Democrats work together. In the Senate, I’ve always sought bipartisan solutions to the problems facing Arizona and because of that, I’m consistently rated one of the most bipartisan, moderate Senators in Washington. I’ve passed bipartisan legislation to create Arizona jobs and give America a competitive edge in the semiconductor industry. I also shaped the bipartisan infrastructure law that is upgrading in Arizona’s roads and bridges, modernizing our ports of entry, and expanding access to high-speed internet. My focus is always on putting Arizona first, and that’s what I’ll continue to do if re-elected."

Masters: "I won’t support radical, far-left policies that force Arizonans to go broke, harm our children’s development, and make our streets dangerous: Mark Kelly does."

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What is one thing you admire about your opponent?

Kelly: "My opponent is obviously a committed husband and father who loves his kids. As a husband, father, and now a grandfather, I get that and admire it."

Masters: "Mark’s former military service is certainly admirable. And it’s cool that he used to be an astronaut. Unfortunately, none of that background has made him a good senator."

Blake Masters won the Republican primary for the Arizona Senate race.

Blake Masters won the Republican primary for the Arizona Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

If you could have dinner with one historical figure, who would it be with and why?

Kelly: "If I could have dinner with any historical figure it would be President Abe Lincoln. Lincoln was everything that a public servant should be. And when I think about that tumultuous period in our history, I would want to ask him about how he managed to tackle so many crises with such a measure of leadership and humanity that reunited our country. I think we all have something to learn from him and his legacy, and about how the things that unite us as Americans are much bigger than the things that divide us."

Masters: "America’s greatest general, George Washington."

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Check back next week for another edition of Election Spotlight to hear from candidates on the ballot this fall.