After Arizona Senator Jeff Flake announced he was not running for reelection to the U.S. Senate, three prominent candidates entered the race. One is conservative Kelli Ward, a former state legislator who ran unsuccessfully for Senate against John McCain. A second candidate is former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who many do not believe is a serious candidate at age 86. The third well-known candidate in the race is Rep. Martha McSally, a liberal Republican who represents a Democratic leaning district in Arizona. The Arizona Daily Independent reports that John McCain is pushing her candidacy.
Ward appeared to be leading in the race until Arpaio jumped in. Now, the conservative base is split between Ward and Arpaio loyalists, giving McSally the lead. Arpaio is in third place. McSally is averaging 10 points ahead of Ward. Some Ward supporters are urging Arpaio to drop out of the race, but so far he has not. According to One News Now, “If Arpaio were removed from the equation, it's likely that Ward could defeat McSally in the August 28 primary.”
Arizona conservatives are tired of liberal Republicans representing them in the Senate. The state is still fairly conservative, unlike a state such as Maine which has liberal Republican Senator Susan Collins. Arizona would be better represented by a solid conservative.
McSally has a poor record in Congress as one of the more liberal Republicans in Congress. The American Conservative Union rates her voting record as less conservative than McCain and Flake. Yet she is now pretending to be a conservative, talking tough on immigration. This is not accurate. She helped craft a bill that would have provided renewable status for Dreamers. Ward opposed it. McSally said she supports DACA legislation along with border security. She said, “I have also consistently shown – with my votes, words and actions – that I am willing to support a legislative solution for the DACA population.”
Tellingly, her campaign website doesn’t appear to contain her positions on issues. Ward’s website does. Blog for Arizona, a popular Democratic blog in Arizona, observes, the “Left and Right agree: Martha McSally is a fraudulent candidate.”
McSally’s record as a pilot in the Air Force has been called into question by former colleagues. The James T. Harris Show interviewed Lt. Col. retired Tom-Chuck Norris about McSally’s experience with the A-10 aircraft. Norris doesn’t think she’s much of a pilot. He said, “she doesn’t even know how many bullets the airplane she flew carries, going into combat carries.” He said she once told him, “It doesn’t matter how good a pilot I am, it doesn’t matter how good I execute close air support. What matters is getting me promoted.”
Norris said McSally showed her lack of knowledge during an interview with Greta Van Susteren, when she spoke about threats while flying. He said her answer was “Madness, pure madness. I mean she was, there was a reason why she was under the highest level of supervision starting back in 1995, because she had severe lack of knowledge and credibility and it hasn’t changed.” He warned, “a fraud is being perpetrated on, on, the nation.”
The James T. Harris Show also interviewed Colonel (ret.) “Pappy” Russell about McSally. He said McSally exploited the tragic deaths of two other pilots in order to promote her campaign. He said she made up details about her role in their deaths that weren’t true. “There’s very little there that truly happened, because I was intimately involved with both of those events.”
McSally distanced herself from President Trump during the 2016 election. In contrast, Ward embraced him and Trump has tweeted positively about her. Conservative Arizona U.S. Representative Paul Gosar endorsed Ward. He said, “We cannot afford another establishment patsy who promises one thing and votes differently.”
The winner will face Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the general election. The Arizona Federation of Taxpayers awarded Sinema the Vladimir I. Lenin award a few years ago for being the most far left legislator in the Arizona legislature. The American Conservative Union gave her voting record in Congress a dismal 13.04 rating. She is running her campaign to the right, however, pretending to be a conservative in flashy TV ads. It will be a close race, and at least one poll shows Ward can beat Sinema. But unless Arpaio drops out of the race, Arizona looks headed to elect another liberal U.S. Senator.