WASHINGTON, D.C. – Martha McSally’s Senate campaign announcement yesterday was an attempt by Mitch McConnell to reset the race for the Republicans, but instead, the AZGOP found itself in the exact same intraparty civil war that had Jeff Flake bolting from the scene.
McSally notably still has not told her constituents that she's running for Senate - instead first tipping off her party leaders in Washington while refusing to answer questions from her hometown paper. It's telling that rather than face defeat in her district, where she's already trailing in some polls, McSally would rather have to answer for her vocal enthusiasm for taking away healthcare from Arizonans and record of dodging constituents in her district - as well as face already mounting opposition from her own party.
Arizona Republic: “McSally has been especially tight-lipped about the races, but seemed to telegraph a Senate run last week in her campaign's response to an attack from a political group supporting Ward.” […]
“…McSally has avoided commenting on Trump's many controversies throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and since Trump has taken office.
But 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.” […]
“McSally trailed in some polls and faced formidable Democratic opposition led by former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, an adept fundraiser who has consolidated her party's establishment support and the money that goes with it.”
Arizona Daily Star: “But Arizona’s electorate might not be as enthusiastic about her 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.” […]
“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.” […]
“Inevitably, if McSally joins the race, she will be hearing more about her lack of enthusiasm for the president and comments like this that she made at the bankers meeting: ‘If we could just take the Twitter account from the president, we could stop with some of the distractions that are going on. That would be helpful.’” […]
“But what may work for McSally in the primary would likely be used against her in the general election.”
Arizona Republic: “McSally hasn’t even formally announced her candidacy and already the knives are out.”
Cronkite News: “McSally’s entry into Senate race could set up ‘war’ in GOP primary”
Arizona Daily Independent: "Wooten recalled that former House Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor came to southern Arizona to raise McSally money. “She is the definition of the GOP establishment.'" [...]
"...'I say that because I know that Ward faces the same thing. So my message to Ward’s supporters is to support her, support her early, and support her often.”
“You’re going to have to,” explained Wooten, “because I know from first-hand experience what it costs personally and professionally to go up against the GOP establishment. They ain’t playing.” [...]
'She has the Jeff Flake syndrome. She sees the writing on the wall. She knows she can’t get re-elected in CD2,' said Wooten explaining why McSally has no choice but to run for the Senate."
The Hill: “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.”
Roll Call: “…But McSally is already facing criticism from some outside conservative groups for her immigration positions.
The pro-Trump group Great America Alliance launched a website and a digital ad Friday accusing the congresswoman of “supporting amnesty for illegals.” The group’s chairman, Eric Beach, is also a strategist for former Republican state Sen. Kelli Ward, who launched a primary challenge against Flake before his retirement announcement.” […]
“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.”