In Arizona Senate race, Republican Martha McSally’s embrace of Trump carries risks

Wednesday, 29 Aug, 2018

With 59 percent of precincts reporting, McSally had 52 percent of the vote, Ward had 28 percent, and Arpaio had 19 percent.

In a year where Senate Democrats are playing defense, the Arizona seat offers a rare pickup opportunity that could help them maintain the status quo of a narrowly divided Senate or even tip them into the majority. Jeff Flake, who announced past year that he would not seek re-election.

The candidates in the race who lost include to very pro-Trump figures, as conspiracy theorist Kelli Ward and disgraced former sheriff Joe Arpaio both lost by a large margin.

The campaign season between the Republican candidates was long, divisive and, at times, just downright ugly. When McCain's family said last week that he was discontinuing medical treatment, Ward speculated in a later-deleted Facebook post that the announcement was meant to hurt her campaign for Flake's seat.

But the race to embrace the polarizing Trump could make it harder in November for the Republican victor. Trump spared Arpaio a possible jail sentence past year by pardoning his federal conviction stemming from his immigration patrols. The former Maricopa County sheriff was featured in a satirical show from comedian Sasha Baron Cohen, of "Borat" fame, where he was seen discussing gun control with a toy donut.

Sinema, a former Green Party member, has undergone her own political shift toward the middle over the years, joining the "Blue Dog Coalition" of moderate Democrats after winning her seat in 2012 and voting against Democrat Nancy Pelosi's re-election as minority leader in 2016. John McCain should step down from the Senate after his brain cancer diagnosis.

The problem for Putnam may be that in 2016, he was among the many Republican establishment figures who expressed reservations about Trump publicly.

Trump held off on endorsing anyone in the primary race until Wednesday morning, when he announced his support for McSally on Twitter.

Ward apologized Monday, saying she was bemoaning media coverage rather than the family's announcement. The Arizona congresswoman has said in multiple interviews that her bisexuality has made her a better leader due to the adversity she faced while growing up.

Now Sinema will continue to campaign until November 6, when voters in Arizona will pick their representative.

History is on McSally's side, as Arizona has not elected a Democratic senator since the late 1980s.

Schapira did too, a fact that speaks to what has been one of the most significant challenges in the Democratic primary race: distinguishing one candidate from the other.

Switching gears to Arizona's gubernatorial race - incumbent Governor Doug Ducey secured his position in the Republican primary, defeating Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett.

Both parties have their sights on flipping two Arizona House seats in November as well.

Sinema told ABC News that she was unfazed by the ad.

"Arizona voters shattered a lavender ceiling in selecting Kyrsten Sinema as the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate", said the LGBTQ Victory Fund, the Washington Examiner reports. Although it's Ducey's job to name a replacement for McCain, the governor said he didn't plan to do so until after McCain's funeral.