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What They’re Saying: McSally’s Botched Rollout Sets Off “Fractious Primary Fight”

It seems that Congresswoman Martha McSally forgot who she serves when she chose to tell Washington insiders – before the people of Arizona – that she plans to run for Senate. Between her health care plan that would spike costs and strip coverage for Arizonans to her tax plan that would raise taxes on the middle class, it’s no wonder she didn’t want to make the announcement at home. Meanwhile, her entrance in the race has cemented what is sure to be “another scorched-earth primary battle” in the GOP’s civil war. See what Arizonans are reading:

Washington Examiner: GOP sources: Martha McSally running for Senate in Arizona, seeking to replace Jeff Flake.

  • Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., is planning to run for Senate in 2018, Republican sources connected to her campaign confirmed Wednesday.
  • McSally’s decision to run for Senate was likely reaffirmed by the Democratic sweep in off-year elections on Tuesday in Virginia and elsewhere. The Southeastern Arizona McSally represents is competitive: The seat has rarely been represented by Republicans and she won it by just 167 votes after a recount in 2014, a wave election for the GOP.
  • McSally, 51, would be one of the top Democratic targets in 2018 in an environment that shaped up as a backlash against President Trump and the Republican-led Congress, making attractive a run for the Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Republican Jeff Flake.

Read the full article here.

Arizona Republic: Rep. Martha McSally tells House colleagues she is running for Senate.

  • Congresswoman Martha McSally is planning to enter Arizona’s 2018 Senate race, giving Republican Kelli Ward new competition in the GOP primary.
  • The lawmaker has told her Republican colleagues in Arizona’s delegation that she intends to enter the Senate race… Her decision will further shake up the state’s political landscape.
  • McSally would be the first high-profile name to join the Senate race since Flake’s retirement announcement. Jay Heiler, a longtime lobbyist and member of the state’s Board of Regents, has formed an exploratory committee. Others, including former members of Congress Matt Salmon and John Shadegg, have weighed a Senate bid, but have taken a pass, at least for now.
  • Republican primary fight looms: McSally can expect opposition from some on the right, including a political-action committee aligned with the conservative Club for Growth, which warned recently that it would oppose her candidacy. Ward’s campaign said they are ready for the competition.

Read the full article here.

Arizona Republic: 5 ways Martha McSally shakes up Arizona’s Senate race.

  • McSally, a two-term House Republican, will likely run as an establishment conservative in the GOP primary that seemed to belong to Sen. Jeff Flake before he announced he wouldn’t seek reelection. Former state Sen. Kelli Ward, currently the front-runner in the Republican primary, is running hard to the right and echoing much of President Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” message.
  • There is clearly room for more candidates, but anyone else will have to elbow into a space between the right and far right— or find a way to bridge the party’s warring conservative and establishment wings.
  • Sinema may claim more of the political middle: A competitive fight between Ward and McSally for the GOP nomination means neither will be able to tailor their messages to more-centrist general election voters, as Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., is doing now. Whoever emerges from that 10-month primary battle will compete 60 days later in a general election race with Democratic voters and independents.
  • The race likely gets more expensive: No matter who wins the Republican primary, it will only happen after a pricey air war… The fiscally conservative Club for Growth PAC has already made known it didn’t want McSally, suggesting a deep cash reservoir for independent expenditures that will hit McSally hard, assuming a more preferable candidate, such as former Rep. Matt Salmon, enters the Republican race.

Read the full article here.

Associated Press: Arizona Rep. Martha McSally tells colleagues she’ll run for Senate.

  • Arizona Rep. Martha McSally has told Republican colleagues that she will enter the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Jeff Flake, a move that puts a mainstream candidate who could win backing from the state’s top Republicans into the primary race.
  • McSally hasn’t made a formal announcement of her intention to run in next year’s Republican primary. But Arizona Rep. David Schweikert said Tuesday that she told fellow Arizona GOP members of Congress that she was running.

Read the full article here.

Tucson Sentinel: McSally to seek U.S. Senate seat, fellow Republicans say.

  • She hasn’t yet made a formal announcement or filed campaign paperwork, but U.S. Rep. Martha McSally has told her GOP colleagues that she plans to seek the Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake. Rep. David Schweikert told the Associated Press that McSally is poised to run.

Read the full article here.

Cronkite News: McSally’s entry into Senate race could set up ‘war’ in GOP primary.

  • Rep. Martha McSally, R-Tucson, has told House colleagues that she will run next year for the seat being vacated by Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, setting the stage for what could be a fractious primary fight with Kelli Ward.
  • Trump backers are already lining up against McSally, whom they are trying to paint as an establishment candidate. ConservativeHQ Chairman Richard Viguerie said McSally was an “establishment, big government candidate” who would be “in the pocket of (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell” if she were elected.
  • MBQF Consulting analyst Mike Noble said the primary now will be a battle between the Republican Party’s factions and a “referendum on how the president is doing,” [and] said a primary victory is not a slam dunk for McSally with groups like Club for Growth and ConservativeHQ lined up against her. “These big groups have the power and the clout to influence primaries,” Noble said, adding that she would fare better if she had support beyond the establishment.
  • Whoever wins the primary, Noble thinks she will face an uphill battle in the general election against Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, the current Democratic front-runner for the seat.

Read the full article here.

Arizona Daily Star: Steller column: McSally’s ambivalence toward Trump could dictate future.

  • Arizona’s electorate might not be as enthusiastic about [McSally’s] ambivalent approach to Trump, refusing to support him rhetorically while going along with his agenda in her votes. It’s a balance that has kept her options open, including a possible run for Senate, but also opened her up to attacks from both sides, as too resistant to Trump and too supportive of him.
  • After Trump won the GOP nomination last year, McSally declined numerous invitations to endorse him, and after the election was over, she declined to say whether she voted for him. Yet, she has voted with Trump’s agenda in Congress more than any other Arizona member of the U.S. House, according to the political data website FiveThirtyEight.com.
  • In the primary, McSally would be running against Ward, who has proclaimed herself the most MAGA (Make America Great Again) of the candidates. Before McSally has even officially announced her intentions to run for Senate, Ward’s camp and outside groups have been attacking McSally as insufficiently supportive of Trump and inadequately conservative… The Club for Growth, too, has attempted to pre-empt a McSally run for Senate. And a variety of groups aligned with Trump and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon put out a letter asking her to stay out of the race.
  • Inevitably, if McSally joins the race, she will be hearing more about her lack of enthusiasm for the president

Read the full article here. 

The Hill: McSally tells GOP colleagues she’ll run for Arizona Senate.

  • Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) has told her House GOP colleagues that she plans to run in 2018 for the Arizona Senate seat left open by Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) retirement.
  • The GOP primary is expected to become more crowded. Other Republicans who are still considering a run include former Rep. Matt Salmon and some former Trump state campaign aides, including state Treasurer Jeff DeWit and former Arizona GOP chairman Robert Graham. Jay Heiler, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, has formed an exploratory committee for the seat.
  • Establishment Republicans are looking for an alternative to Ward, who they believe wouldn’t fare well in a general election against Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who will likely be the Democratic nominee. But Ward has already won the backing of former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who has declared war on the GOP establishment and anyone who doesn’t back the president. She has also shored up some support from others in conservative and pro-Trump circles.
  • Not all conservatives are in Ward’s corner, however, and some have already indicated that they won’t back McSally, either. The conservative Club for Growth PAC has said it will support Salmon if he decides to run.

Read the full article here.

Roll Call: McSally Planning Senate Run in Arizona.

  • Rep. Martha McSally told her fellow Arizona Republican House colleagues Monday that she plans to run for the state’s newly open Senate seat… It is not clear when she will officially announce her Senate campaign. But McSally is already facing criticism from some outside conservative groups for her immigration positions.
  • A coalition of conservative groups including the Club for Growth PAC and FreedomWorks announced last month that they would oppose McSally’s candidacy if she ran, accusing her of being too liberal.
  • McSally could face a crowded Republican primary field. Besides Ward, who was endorsed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul last week, Arizona Board of Regents member Jay Heiler has formed an exploratory committee. Other potential contenders include former GOP Rep. Matt Salmon and state Treasurer Jeff DeWit.

Read the full article here.

See also:
U.S. News: Razing Arizona: McSally Eyeing GOP Senate Battle.
Business Insider: The GOP establishment is rallying around a new frontrunner to replace Jeff Flake — but she’s been repeatedly critical of Trump.
CNN: Conservative groups to McSally: Stay out of Arizona’s Senate race.
New York Times: ‘Bedlam Out Here in Arizona’ After Jeff Flake Departs Senate Race.
Arizona Republic: Senate poll: GOP voters uncertain who they want to replace Jeff Flake. 

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What To Know About Martha McSally & The AZ GOP Senate Primary

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