A “Painfully Obvious Shift” in Arizona Senate Primary

HuffPost: McSally’s abandonment of the RAC Act seems an indication that she is responding to Ward’s attacks from the right

Arizona Republic: The move comes as McSally is facing two rival conservatives seeking this year’s Republican nomination for the state’s open Senate seat

After weeks of attacks from her primary opponents, Congresswoman Martha McSally removed herself as a co-sponsor from a bipartisan bill that offers Dreamers a path to citizenship – a measure she supported while running for reelection in a swing district but is now a liability in a tight primary. The “painfully obvious shift” followed Ward’s attacks from the right and quickly earned criticism from Arizona conservatives.

“These clumsy, inauthentic maneuvers are hard to watch but voters are learning a lot about how Congresswoman McSally will say and do anything to get elected – even if that means going back on her word to Arizonans,” said DSCC spokesman David Bergstein. “If Congresswoman McSally caves so easily to primary pressure, why would voters trust her to stand up for them in Washington?”

HuffPost: Facing Challenge From The Right, GOP Lawmaker Pulls Support For Immigration Bill
By Amanda Terkel and Elise Foley

  • Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) withdrew her cosponsorship of immigration legislation that would help young undocumented immigrants, as she fends off challenges from the right in her bid for her party’s Senate nomination.
  • McSally’s abandonment of the RAC Act seems an indication that she is responding to Ward’s attacks from the right.
  • Ward has been criticizing McSally for supporting “amnesty.” In an interview last month on Fox News, Ward said McSally has flip-flopped on immigration and is only lately acting like a conservative.
  • McSally has noticeably shifted to the right as she seeks her party’s Senate nomination. During the 2016 campaign and in the early days of his presidency, she was critical of Donald Trump. She called his comments on the “Access Hollywood” tape “disgusting,” and expressed frustration at having to answer for every little distraction he created.
  • Shifting to the right may have its benefits in the primary campaign, but it could be difficult for McSally to sprint back to the center if she emerges as the GOP Senate nominee. Part of that problem involves timing ― Arizona’s Aug. 28 is one of the latest in the nation.

Read the full article here.

Arizona Republic: Congress: Rep. McSally shifts support to stricter immigration bill
By Ronald J. Hansen and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez

  • U.S. Rep. Martha McSally has dropped her support for immigration-reform legislation that offers a pathway to citizenship for undocumented dreamers in favor of a less generous alternative that also would sharply reduce legal immigration.
  • The move comes as McSally is facing two rival conservatives seeking this year’s Republican nomination for the state’s open Senate seat and as she has taken a harder line on border security and other issues in advance of a combative Republican primary.
  • McSally is running against Kelli Ward, a former state senator, and Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff. Both are immigration hardliners who have enthusiastically supported President Donald Trump’s call for a wall along the southern border.
  • Eric Beach, Ward’s lead strategist, said McSally’s move illustrates what he describes as a political “identity crisis” that has plagued her since she launched her campaign in January.
  • Chad Willems, Arpaio’s campaign manager, also attacked McSally’s shifting support on immigration-related legislation. “It’s no shock that McSally has been changing positions on key policy issues since she decided to run for higher office,” Willems said in a written statement. “But for her to flip-flop so late in the game is just embarrassing.”

Read the full article here.

RealClearPolitics: McSally’s DACA Flip Lays Bare AZ Senate Race Dynamics
By Caitlin Huey-Burns

  • In order to face [Democratic Representative] Sinema, McSally must first survive a long and likely bitter battle against physician Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio… Voters in Arizona won’t select their GOP nominee until Aug. 28, giving the victor little time to pivot toward a general election position in a red state that shows signs of turning purple.
  • McSally likely had her current constituents [of Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District] in mind when she agreed to sponsor the first measure… Co-sponsoring an immigration bill like HR 1468 seemed to make political sense then… But that kind of politics doesn’t appear to work statewide in Arizona, at least not in a Republican primary. Flake, who co-sponsored the last comprehensive immigration reform package and is a top critic of President Trump, acknowledged as much in choosing to retire rather than seek re-election.
  • Meanwhile, Ward has embraced Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” mantra as her own and lists “Build the Wall” as her top policy passion. Her presence in the race is adding pressure for McSally, who is backed by GOP leadership, to move rightward. Arpaio’s presence in the contest might divide far right support and thus provide a path for McSally to win the nomination. But the congresswoman’s move on the immigration bill suggests it won’t be that easy.
  • Republicans in the state worry that even if McSally secures the nomination, she will have been forced to take positions that would could alienate the moderate voters she will need in the general election against Sinema.

Read the full article here.

Slate: An Arizona Senate Candidate’s Painfully Obvious Shift on Immigration
By Jim Newell

  • Last Thursday afternoon, as the House was wrapping up its work for the week, Arizona Rep. Martha McSally asked for and received unanimous consent to remove herself as a co-sponsor of a piece of immigration legislation[, which McSally had] touted… for much of the year.
  • But later that fall, McSally had a eureka moment that changed her entire perspective on immigration. It went as follows: Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who saw his standing among Republican primary voters collapse after clashes with President Trump, announced he wouldn’t run for reelection. Eureka! McSally thought. I should run for that Senate seat!
  • And so, instead of trying to win re-election in a narrowly Republican district that she captured by less than 200 votes in 2014, McSally now finds herself in a statewide primary against two anti-immigration hawks: former state Sen. Kelli Ward and recently pardoned ex–Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a couple of far-right pieces of work if ever there were. In January, she leapt at the opportunity to co-author Trump’s preferred House immigration bill, Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s Securing America’s Future Act, which offers existing DACA beneficiaries renewable legal status in exchange for every conservative demand on immigration policy.
  • Her rival campaigns immediately made fun of her for this, because it’s super-obvious and they should.

Read the full article here.

ThinkProgress: Congresswoman McSally quietly drops support for DACA fix
By Addy Baird

  • Both Ward and Arpaio have made their hard-right immigration views central to their campaigns and, throughout the tough primary, McSally has tacked right on a number of issues and embraced Trump.
  • McSally’s primary rivals both criticized her immigration shift. Eric Beach, Ward’s lead strategist, told The Arizona Republic he thought McSally was facing a political “identity crisis,” adding that he “think[s] she’s being exposed.”

Read the full article here.

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