Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally announced her intention to run for the senate seat at a plane hangar in Tucson on Friday morning. She becomes the third high-profile Republican to enter the race to replace retiring GOP Sen.
Political observers in Arizona said the more moderate McSally stands a far better chance of beating a Democrat in the November general election than Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff known for harsh anti-immigration views. Kelli Ward, a vocal Trump advocate, are also GOP candidates.
The retired United States Air Force colonel and current U.S. House representative from Arizona's 2nd Congressional District announced the news in a video posted online where, in the words of Team 12's Brahm Resnik, she went "full fighter jock". McSally also cleverly adapts the ancient conservative injunction to RINOs to "grow a pair" by saying the GOP should "grow a pair of ovaries", presumably like hers.
"I absolutely refuse to bow down to Sharia law", McSally says, after a narrator discusses her successful fight against a US military policy that required women to wear head-to-toe garb in Saudi Arabia.
In front of a fighter jet and over the crunch of electric guitar, McSally then declares her common ground with Trump: "Like our president, I'm exhausted of P.C. politicians and their B.S. excuses". She wasn't done though, also explicitly tying herself to Trump.
Despite the aggressive rhetoric in her announcement video, some of 's conservative critics dismiss her as an establishment favorite whose record doesn't match the tough talk in her announcement.
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"I absolutely refused to bow down to Sharia law", she said in the video referencing her successful challenge to a military policy that required her to wear an Islamic robe over her Air Force uniform.
Little more than a year ago, McSally refused to endorse Trump, and she referred to his sexually predatory comments caught on the "Access Hollywood" tape as "disgusting". Over the past month, McSally has sent out photos of herself with the president and with first daughter Ivanka Trump.... But now she says she was "standing up to Sharia law", a cause beloved of Muslim-hating Christian conservatives.
If McSally manages to beat Arpaio and Ward for the Republican Senate nomination, she is expected to face U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the Democratic primary front-runner. After 8 years of fighting, I won my battle for the religious freedom of American service women.
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"Martha McSally is Jeff Flake 2.0 and part of the Washington Establishment that has failed Arizona for years".
"She's the real deal", Trump says.
On Friday afternoon, election forecaster Cook Political Report moved its rating of the open seat in CD2 from tossup to leans Democrat.
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"Whoever escapes the primary in August, they will be held accountable for touting their radical stripes at every opportunity and willingness to take stances on issues that are simply out of touch with Arizonan voters", state Democratic Party spokesman Drew Anderson said.