Democrat Mark Kelly refused to answer a question about whether he would vote to kill the Senate filibuster if elected during the Arizona Senate debate on Tuesday night.
The debate, the only one of its kind in the closely-watched race, featured Kelly and incumbent Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ).
The filibuster is a procedural rule in the Senate designed to protect the minority party and encourage negotiations. It requires a supermajority of 60 votes for the passage of ordinary legislation.
Democrats have begun threatening to end the filibuster if they take control of the Senate, giving them the power to pass anything they like over the objections of the opposition.
Lorraine Rivera of Arizona Public Media asked Kelly if he would invoke the filibuster to delay the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
“If you are in the Senate, would you support a filibuster to delay the nomination?” she asked.
(The premise of the question was somewhat inaccurate: the filibuster no longer exists for Supreme Court nominees.)
Kelly argued, incorrectly, that Republicans had “abolished the filibuster” to pass a tax cut and to repeal Obamacare. (They used reconciliation, which only requires 50 votes — the same way Obamacare was passed in 2010.)
He finally arrived at his answer on the filibuster: “I will give it thoughtful consideration, and I’m going to do what’s in the best interest of Arizona and our country, not what it’s the best interest of one political party or the other.”
Rivera asked the question again: “Mr. Kelly, you’ve been a candidate for more than a year. Many people think that you should already have an answer to that question.”
“We don’t know if this is even going to come up for — even a discussion,” he protested. “It might — and if it does, I will give it thoughtful consideration.”
Democrats have already begun calling openly for the filibuster to be eliminated. Former President Barack Obama did so at the funeral for Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in July, for example.
Moderator Yvonne Wingett Sanchez of the Arizona Republic later retuned to the question. “Mr. Kelly, who do you need to hear from to form an opinion on the filibuster question?”
“I’ll need to hear from Arizonans,” Kelly said, adding: “When I make that decision, I will let Arizonans know.” He claimed again that the topic had not come up for discussion, and that Arizonans did not care about “a rule in the United States Senate.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.