Republican US senatorial candidate Blake Masters speaks during his election night watch party on August 2, 2022 in Chandler, Arizona.
CNN  — 

Blake Masters may have scrubbed his website of claims that the 2020 election was stolen. But apparently that doesn’t mean he stopped believing it.

“Well, I still believe it, that’s for sure,” Masters said in an interview with Fox News Wednesday of the false notion that the last presidential election was decided wrongly. “If we had had a free and fair election, President Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office today.”

Masters provided no evidence for his claim.

His re-identification with election denialism comes just more than a month after CNN reported that Masters had heavily edited – and toned down – language about the 2020 election following his primary victory for the Republican Senate nomination in Arizona.

Prior to that win, Masters website had this to say about the election: “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.”

After, it was edited down to this: “We need to get serious about election integrity.”

Kind of different, right?

Masters also altered his positions on abortion and immigration. His campaign told CNN that the candidate himself edits and up-keeps his website – choosing to see it as a “living document” rather than a set of fixed policy positions. Which, OK.

Masters isn’t the only Republican Senate nominee to find himself caught betwixt and between when it comes to the 2020 election.

In New Hampshire, Don Bolduc said in an August debate that “I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Donald Trump won the election and, damn it, I stand by [it].” But, then just days after becoming the Republican nominee for Senate in September, Bolduc flipped. “I’ve done a lot of research on this, and I’ve spent the past couple of weeks talking to Granite Staters all over the state from every party, and I have come to the conclusion – and I want to be definitive on this – the election was not stolen,” he told Fox News. Then, he flipped again! “I can’t say that it was stolen or not,” Bolduc said, according to the AP, in response to a question from a voter about the 2020 election earlier this month. “I don’t have enough information.”

The challenge for these Senate candidates is that the Trumpist base of the GOP believes wholeheartedly in this election denialism and, because of the relentless advocacy of the former President, see it as a sine qua non of their support for Republican candidates.

For Masters, it’s not clear what his end-game is here. Polling suggests that he is running behind Sen. Mark Kelly in a race that had long been seen as one of Republicans’ best pickup opportunities in the country. Playing at election denalism seems unlikely to close that gap.