The Republican Senate primary season has been wrought with deep divisions, candidate snafus, and contentious infighting. The last of the GOP’s problematic primaries has proven to be the worst and as was the case in other states with bitter feuds, the candidate who emerges tonight will be deeply damaged. Here’s a look at the headlines in the closing days of the primary:
CNBC: Bruising Senate primary in red state Arizona could leave Republican victor vulnerable in November
“In an all-out fight for the GOP nod, two conservative firebrands are splitting up the Arizona party’s base. It has given establishment pick Rep. Martha McSally a consistent polling advantage. Seen as a pragmatic legislator who could pick up moderate voters, McSally is expected to beat Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an immigration hardliner whom President Donald Trump pardoned over a criminal contempt conviction.”
Los Angeles Times: Arizona race becomes a Trumpian hugfest. Will it cost the GOP a Senate seat?
“The pledges of unflagging loyalty may be exactly what it takes to win the primary. But all that Trumpian devotion is complicating Republican efforts to hang onto the Senate in November…as the Senate candidates and their allies savage one another, the Democratic front-runner, Kyrsten Sinema, has spent months floating above the competition, running lofty advertisements that paint her as a nonpartisan problem solver.”
“But while McSally’s flashy announcement will be hard to beat, her path to the Senate is surprisingly perilous…The problem is Donald Trump…Trump is at the center of tensions sweeping through the Arizona Republican Party — tensions that have led to both of the state’s current senators strongly criticizing the president. Tensions that explain why the seat is open at all, and that threaten to derail McSally’s effort to even secure the nomination. Tensions that have brought forth a strong Democratic challenger, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a fascinating figure in her own right, on whose shoulders Democrats’ slender but real chances of retaking the Senate majority rest.”
“While McSally is the establishment favorite, she has also taken a tough stance on immigration, backing Trump’s border wall and focusing much of her campaign on border issues…Ward has long been a populist voice in the state, where she had launched a 2016 challenge against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. But Ward’s campaign has been damaged by the candidacy of Arpaio, whose entry into the race meant Ward had to cover her own right flank rather than focus on McSally.”
Talking Points Memo: McSally’s Trump Embrace Could Boost Dems’ Chances At Arizona Senate Seat
“McSally was forced into the arms of President Trump and away from her formerly centrist positions on immigration in order to ward off conspiracy theorist-loving former state Sen. Kelli Ward (R) and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R), spending heavily on ads promoting her work with the president and attacking Ward over the primary’s final weeks.”
The Economist: The Republicans risk imploding in Arizona
“But Republican operatives worry that the lack of a presidential endorsement and the intra-party mudslinging this has caused will leave Ms McSally too little time to take on Ms Sinema effectively…While Ms McSally should have been busy appealing to potential Sinema-backing centrists, she has instead been countering attacks from Ms Ward, who has cast her as anti-Trump and soft on immigration.”
NPR: Arizona GOP Senate Candidates Embrace Trump In Primary. But What Comes Next?
“But with less than three months before Election Day, the party first has to settle a bitter primary battle being fought largely over which candidate is Trump’s best ally on immigration.”
Politico: Republicans struggling to hang on to Jeff Flake’s seat
“Arizona is problematic in another way for Republicans: The late, Aug. 28 primary turns the general election into a 10-week sprint, and that time frame is further shortened by extensive early voting by mail. Allies of Republican leaders in Washington think Ward can’t win the general election but have also worried that a protracted fight could cripple McSally’s fall campaign, making it difficult to shift to a general election focus.”
“McSally is currently running in the Republican primary to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake against former state senator Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who are both hardliners on immigration.”
Arizona Republic: In Arizona’s Senate race, Martha McSally cozies up to Donald Trump
“McSally has the most to prove in establishing her Trump bona fides. She did not endorse Trump in the 2016 election — and may not have voted for him — but she must now curry his favor to win the GOP nomination for Arizona’s open U.S. Senate seat.”
“President Trump’s decision to remain on the sidelines has caused a protracted and costly Republican primary fight in Arizona, where the three candidates are heavily playing up their Trump bona fides despite no endorsement in sight.”
Arizona Republic (Opinion): I would have expected more from a congresswoman from Arizona.
MSNBC highlights Congresswoman McSally’s flip flop on Trump
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