Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters removed language from his website following his primary win that included the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, along with a section arguing the country would be better off if Trump was still the president.
A review of Masters’ website by CNN’s KFile showed he also removed controversial language saying Democrats were trying to “import” a new electorate – language that has drawn fire for mirroring far-right conspiracies that Democrats are trying to weaken the power of native-born Americans of European descent through mass immigration of non-White immigrants.
Both stances were on Masters’ website on August 1, the day before he won the Republican primary to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in the closely watched Senate race. The sections were gone by August 26, according to screenshots from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
Masters’s new campaign posturing comes as a flurry of Republican candidates nationwide attempt to distance themselves from unpopular or divisive policy positions, particularly about abortion and the legitimacy of the 2020 election, ahead of the midterm election this November.
NBC News first reported last week that Masters attempted to tone down his position on abortion by removing from his website his support of a “federal personhood law” and a several other strict anti-abortion positions while releasing a video in which the Republican nominee took a softer stance on the issue.
A person close to Masters told CNN last week that the Republican candidate designs, codes and updates his website himself – and that his recent updates to the abortion section reflect his desire to use his policy section as a “living document” rather than an immutable record of his positions.
It’s unusual for candidates to update their issues pages on major issues, and CNN has reached out to Masters’ campaign about the modified language about the 2020 election.
Removed sections on immigration and election 2020
In early August, the page “The Masters Plan,” read, “We need to get serious about election integrity. The 2020 election was a rotten mess – if we had had a free and fair election, President Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office today and America would be so much better off.”
The page now only says, “We need to get serious about election integrity.”
In another section of Masters’ website regarding immigration, Masters wrote, “Joe Biden and Mark Kelly caused this crisis. They canceled the Border Wall construction. They invite illegals to come here and give them housing and cash. The Democrats dream of mass amnesty, because they want to import a new electorate.”
Masters removed the last line, which nods to the great replacement conspiracy theory.
Website removed from archiving in 2018
Masters’ website was removed from the Web Archive temporarily at his request, according to a spokesperson for the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
Any person can request their content be removed from the Wayback Machine and Internet users flagged its removal on Friday following NBC’s report. Though the removal sparked cries that Masters was trying to hide changes to his campaign website, the exclusion of his page was actually requested in 2018 before he was a candidate.
“Blake Masters sent us a request to exclude blakemasters.com from the Wayback Machine in 2018, well prior to his campaign,” the spokesman said. “We were not aware he would become a candidate for public office and excluded the site. We have presently re-enabled access to archives of the site for the time period after Masters’ campaign became public.”
CNN’s Alex Rogers contributed to this report.