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Image: Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio during a rally in support of Republican gubernatorial incumbent Ron DeSantis, on Aug. 23, 2022, in Hialeah, Fla.Gaston De Cardenas / AP

Midterm elections roundup: A tale of three Republicans on abortion

Arizona's Blake Masters, Florida's Marco Rubio, and Washington's Tiffany Smiley each addressed the abortion issue on Thursday in different ways.

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Republicans are clearly still figuring out how to address abortion. Just look at how three Senate GOP contenders approached the issue Thursday. 

NBC News’ Allan Smith and Marc Caputo report that Blake Masters, who is running for Senate in Arizona, scrubbed his website, removing language that described Masters as “100% pro-life” and deleting Masters’ support for “a federal personhood law.” Masters also released a video online where he sought to cast Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly as extreme on abortion, and said he supports a ban on “very late-term and partial birth abortions.” 

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told CBS 4 Miami that “we should be protecting innocent human life from the moment of conception,” but that he would consider supporting bills with exceptions. He dodged a question about whether he would support a federal ban on abortion, saying: “I think right now this issue is appropriately before the states. That’s where it should have always been… We don’t have the votes now or anytime in the near future for that.” 

And Republican Tiffany Smiley, who is running against Sen. Patty Murray in Democratic-leaning Washington, spoke directly to the camera in her new TV ad, saying, “I’m pro-life, but I oppose a federal abortion ban.” 

Elsewhere on the campaign trail…

Pennsylvania Senate: Politico reports on how Republican Mehmet Oz has ramped up his attacks directly on Democrat John Fetterman’s health as he looks to find solid footing in the Senate race. 

Wisconsin Senate: Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes responded to GOP attacks ads tying him to progressive members of Congress, telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “I’m not running for the Senate to join the Squad or any group of lawmakers.”

Michigan Governor: Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer leads Republican nominee Tudor Dixon by a margin of 50% to 39% in a new EPIC-MRA poll, but Whitmer’s job approval is slightly underwater (51% rate her job performance negatively, 47% positively). 

New York’s 10th District: Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., endorsed former House impeachment manager Dan Goldman Thursday in the open seat race, tweeting that Democrats should “coalesce around the nominee.” NBC News’ Decision Desk still considers the race too close to call.

New York’s 23rd District:: Politico reports on how New York’s state GOP chairman overcame the controversial Republican backed by Rep. Elise Stefanik on the way to a pivotal primary victory

Texas’ 28th District: Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar made his first TV buy of the general election, reserving $46,000 on the airwaves, per AdImpact. 

Pennsylvania’s 8th District: Republican Jim Bognet appears to have removed several mentions of former President Donald Trump from his campaign website, HuffPost reports. Bognet is in a competitive race against Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright.