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McSally, Sinema to face for Arizona Senate seat

Rep. Martha McSally won the Republican nomination for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday, setting up a November contest with Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, and immediately found herself at the center of a brush fire lit by President Trump.

Trump claimed in a tweet congratulating the establishment-backed Republican candidate that she ‘turned down’ an endorsement from outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake – a political enemy of the president’s and the current seat-holder.

‘Martha McSally, running in the Arizona Primary for U.S. Senate, was endorsed by rejected Senator Jeff Flake….and turned it down – a first!’ Trump wrote. ‘Now Martha, a great U.S. Military fighter jet pilot and highly respected member of Congress, WINS BIG. Congratulations, and on to November!’

The president refrained from making an endorsement in the three-way primary, and Flake says he did, too. 

Flake shared an image of a Dec. 5 check he wrote to Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, and said, ‘Sorry, @realDonaldTrump. I made no endorsement in this race. I think the last endorsement I made was in the Alabama race.’ 

Rep. Martha McSally won the Republican nomination for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday, setting up a November contest with Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, and immediately found herself at the center of a brush fire lit by President Trump 

Trump claimed in a tweet congratulating the establishment-backed Republican candidate that she 'turned down' an endorsement from outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake - a political enemy of the president's and the current seat-holder

Trump claimed in a tweet congratulating the establishment-backed Republican candidate that she ‘turned down’ an endorsement from outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake – a political enemy of the president’s and the current seat-holder

The president refrained from making an endorsement in the three-way primary, and Flake says he did, too. Flake shared an image of a Dec. 5 check he wrote to Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, and said it was the last time he made an endorsement

The president refrained from making an endorsement in the three-way primary, and Flake says he did, too. Flake shared an image of a Dec. 5 check he wrote to Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, and said it was the last time he made an endorsement

Trump successfully pushed Flake out of the U.S. Senate after he belittled the GOP senator as 'weak' on the border and backed one of his primary opponents. Flake was not 'rejected' by the voters though as Trump indicated

Trump successfully pushed Flake out of the U.S. Senate after he belittled the GOP senator as ‘weak’ on the border and backed one of his primary opponents. Flake was not ‘rejected’ by the voters though as Trump indicated

Eight hours after the spat began, the president sent a second tweet, explicitly endorsing McSally that leaving the retiring GOP senator out of it. 

”Martha McSally is an extraordinary woman. She was a very talented fighter jet pilot and is now a highly respected member of Congress,’ he said. ‘She is Strong on Crime, the Border and our under siege 2nd Amendment. Loves our Military and our Vets. Has my total and complete Endorsement!’

Trump successfully pushed Flake out of the U.S. Senate after he belittled the GOP senator as ‘weak’ on the border and backed one of his primary opponents, Kelli Ward, after coming under withering criticism from the sitting senator who shares his party affiliation.

The exiting senator was not ‘rejected’ by the voters as Trump indicated in his tweet, although he was struggling in the polls at the time he withdrew his candidacy.

Flake denied Trump his endorsement in 2016 and vocally opposed aspects of his agenda and message while on a book tour last year. He was especially critical of Trump’s ‘both sides’ comment after the Charlottesville race riot and has questioned the effectiveness of a coast-to-coast border wall.

After two months of tangling with Trump, he dropped his bid for reelection and torched the Republican president in a floor speech that reflected on the current state of conservatism.

A three-way battle ensued to replace Flake, with defeated state senator Ward facing off in the Republican primary against McSally, a former Air Force colonel who represents a Tucson-area swing district and was the first woman to fly a jet in combat, and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who the president last year pardoned.

The primary happened in the shadow of the death of Arizona’s senior senator, John McCain, whose body will lie at the Arizona Capitol on Wednesday. Both nominees have pledged not to campaign then or Thursday in his honor.

In a statement, Sinema mentioned McCain, who was known for bucking his party. ‘It’s up to all of us to follow his lead of always putting country over party,’ the Democrat said.

McSally began her victory speech with a moment of silence for McCain. ‘It’s difficult to celebrate anything this week,’ she said.

But much of McSally’s speech was a lacerating attack on Sinema. ‘This is how I see this campaign,’ McSally said. ‘It’s a choice between a doer and a talker. Between a patriot and a protester.’

Arpaio, a former six-term sheriff of Maricopa County who’d never lost a GOP primary, was in third place. In a low-key event at a Greek restaurant near his home, he said he’d dedicate himself to ensuring President Donald Trump gets re-elected in 2020.

Also in Tuesday’s primary, Republicans nominated Gov. Doug Ducey for a second term and Democrats selected education professor David Garcia to challenge him. In the state’s 9th Congressional District, Steve Ferrara, the former Navy chief medical officer, won the GOP nomination to face Greg Stanton, Phoenix’s Democratic former mayor.

Eight hours after the spat began, the president sent a second tweet, explicitly endorsing McSally that leaving the retiring GOP senator out of it

Eight hours after the spat began, the president sent a second tweet, explicitly endorsing McSally that leaving the retiring GOP senator out of it

The Republican candidates also distanced themselves from the ailing McCain, who died after most ballots had already been cast by early voters 

The Republican candidates also distanced themselves from the ailing McCain, who died after most ballots had already been cast by early voters 

McSally began her victory speech with a moment of silence for McCain. 'It's difficult to celebrate anything this week,' she said after coming under scrutiny earlier this month from the McCain family 

McSally began her victory speech with a moment of silence for McCain. ‘It’s difficult to celebrate anything this week,’ she said after coming under scrutiny earlier this month from the McCain family 

Arizona has an open Senate seat this cycle after Flake decided to leave office and an open seat to which someone will be appointed following McCain’s death.

The seat is considered a key pickup for Democrats in their bid to take control of the chamber, meaning the general election will be among the closest-watched Senate races in the nation between now and November. 

Television ads have already bombarded Arizona residents throughout the summer months, and a competitive general election is likely to draw in millions of dollars in outside spending for television ads and other campaigning.

Sinema was long favored to win the primary and is seen as a competitive Democratic candidate in a general election that could hinge on how voters feel about Trump and his policies. 

While her centrist approach and Blue Dog Democrat status may not appeal to the state’s voters who are far to the left, her willingness to be bipartisan could curry favor among the state’s large crop of independent voters. If she’s victorious, Democrats could pick up an Arizona Senate seat for the first time since Dennis DiConcini left office in 1995.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is also seeking the U.S. Senate seat occupied by outgoing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, and will face the Republican primary winner of the race between Rep. Martha McSally, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio 

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is also seeking the U.S. Senate seat occupied by outgoing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, and will face the Republican primary winner of the race between Rep. Martha McSally, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio 

In a state whose electoral votes went to Trump, the Republican nominee could use voters’ support for the president to their advantage. McSally, Ward and Arpaio all campaigned on their various connections to Trump during the primary.

In mid-August, McSally’s campaign boasted about the president calling her ‘terrific’ while introducing her at an event. Meanwhile, Ward was endorsed by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, and Arpaio noted his early support for Trump’s presidential run.

The Republican candidates also distanced themselves from the ailing McCain, who died after most ballots had already been cast by early voters. 

McSally drew criticism from McCain’s family when she did not mention his name in the signing of the recent defense bill, which was named after the cancer-stricken senator. Hours before McCain died on Saturday, Ward suggested in a since-deleted Facebook post that his family had announced he was ending medical treatment to hurt her campaign. 

After McCain’s death, Sinema and Ward suspended their campaigns for Wednesday and Thursday.

A Democratic victory in the Senate race could suggest the state could be up for grabs in 2020. Bill Clinton was the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Arizona in 1996.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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