Ex-combat pilot McSally takes on sheriff Arpaio in Arizona Senate race

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally announced her intention to run for the senate seat at a plane hangar in Tucson on Friday morning.

She enters a dynamic Republican primary field that features a nationally celebrated immigration hardliner, 85-year-old former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was pardoned by Trump last year after defying a judge's order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.

Kelli Ward, the former state senator who lost her primary challenge past year against Arizona Sen.

Martha McSally Shows Off Her Pilot Skills Her action-packed announcement video trades on numerous same themes she used in her House campaigns, stressing her status of the first American female to fly in combat, winning a fight to refuse to don Muslim garb while serving in the Middle East, and as a congresswoman working to protecting funding for the locally produced A-10 fighter jet.

Arizona's other senator, John McCain, said he had hoped Flake was not actually going to throw in the towel.

Democrats in the Senate primary include Deedra Abboud, Bob Bishop, Cheryl Fowler, Chris Russell and U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who is considered the front-runner.

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.

Thanks to the Alabama special election win, Democrats trail Republicans in the Senate by just two seats.

John Kasich (R) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) began their New York Times op-ed on President Trump and immigration by recapping the tale of Elián Gonzalez, the young Cuban boy who made it to Florida in 1999 and then, when US courts ruled he had to return, was "pulled from the arms of a sheltering adult by a team of heavily armed federal agents", a scene "seared in the minds of many people as a low point in the immigration debate". Arpaio was defeated for re-election as sheriff by a Democrat in 2016. "That's just not how leaders carry themselves", she said at the time. She previously represented Arizona's first congressional district, but made a decision to run against Sen. Trump has not endorsed a candidate in the race.

"Martha McSally is Jeff Flake 2.0 and part of the Washington Establishment that has failed Arizona for years". Ward's campaign has called McSally "Jeff Flake 2.0" and noted that McSally refused to endorse Trump previous year. "How much daylight is she going to put between herself and the president?"

While the Arizona Republicans are about as far-right and socially conservative as they come - with an added mix of anti-immigrant xenophobia and straight-out racism in some cases - the general Arizona population is far less extreme.

McSally could benefit if Arpaio and Ward split the hard-line conservative vote. Nor would she say whether her political party should do anything to improve its standing among Hispanic voters. It's even possible she is determined to out-crazy Arpaio and Ward, which would be quite the trick.

She wore a flight suit, her uniform from her days as the country's first female combat pilot, and she spoke about her record of fighting the Department of Defense over the clothes women in the military were forced to wear in restrictive countries practicing Sharia law.

Arpaio, a prodigious fundraiser who boasted Tuesday that he has never lost a Republican primary, said he expects to win if given "a fair shake" by what he called the biased news media.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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