Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Rep. Martha McSally Finds Her Inner Trump

Rep. Martha McSally Finds Her Inner Trump

Arpaio is also been a leading figure in the "birther" conspiracy movement about former president Barack Obama, to which Trump once also belonged.

The August primary contest is shaping up as the latest election to expose the divisions roiling the Republican Party, pitting the establishment-backed McSally against the bomb-throwing Arpaio.

McSally also compared her own political style to the president, saying in her announcement video, "Like our president, I'm exhausted of PC politicians and their BS excuses".

McSally, who has always been expected to run and is the preferred candidate of Senate GOP officials, launched her campaign with a slick 83-second video she posted online.

"After taking on terrorists in combat, the liberals in the Senate won't scare me one bit", McSally said in the video released hours before she piloted herself to campaign events across the state in a World War Two-era plane.

The 85-year-old Arpaio noted those similarities Wednesday, a day after he announced his candidacy for the Senate seat now held by Republican Jeff Flake, a Trump critic who's not seeking re-election.

Democratic political consultant Rodd McLeod thinks Arpaio might be able to win the primary because "there is a market for that" among Arizona Republicans.

Arpaio made the announcement Tuesday, injecting new uncertainty and attention into the race that's already among the year's most-watched.

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Democrats have recruited Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., for the race, a capable fundraiser whom party officials see as a formidable candidate for the seat.

"My friend, Martha McSally, she's the real deal". John McCain in 2016.

Ward, who has been backed by former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, has framed her campaign as an extension of Trump's "America First agenda", although that could be more hard now that Trump is feuding with Bannon. "How much daylight is she going to put between herself and the president?"

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also put out a statement attacking the entire Republican primary field.

She also addressed President Trump's comment on Thursday in which he criticized protections for immigrants from "s--hole" countries, a reference to Africa, Haiti and El Salvador.

McSally could benefit if Arpaio and Ward split the hard-line conservative vote. Cook Political Report now has the race as a toss-up. She's a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, the political home for moderately conservative officeholders.

Coughlin said Arpaio has a good shot, noting he boasts a loyal core of supporters and has never lost a Republican primary.

The spot leans heavily on her experience as the first female combat fighter pilot and portrays her as an ally of the president. "But how do you get that narrative out there in the cacophony that Joe creates when he talks?"

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