AZGOP’S DIVISIVE PRIMARY ONLY GETTING WORSE FOR ESTABLISHMENT
PHOENIX – The battle between Joe Arpaio, Kelli Ward, and Rep. Martha McSally continues to earn top billing as one of the most divisive GOP primaries in the country. Politico reports on how the GOP establishment, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell, is bracing for battle against Kelli Ward and Joe Arpaio ahead of the August 28 primary. Even Sen. Jeff Flake is getting involved, criticizing Mike Pence for praising Joe Arpaio in April.
The deep rift in the GOP primary doesn’t surprise Arizonans. Ward, Arpaio, and McSally have been locked in a brutal contest since the start of the year – with Kelli Ward even calling Rep. McSally “Jeff Flake 2.0.” As this primary enters the summer months, one thing is certain: the AZGOP civil war is only heating up.
Politico: GOP braces for more brutal Senate primaries
By: Burgess Everett
“…[Mitch McConnell] is bracing for a flurry of anti-McConnell barrages in two critical primaries in Arizona and Mississippi that will test whether McConnell can effectively be used as a foil by conservative candidates. Candidates there are already attacking him and using his name generously to raise money, signaling that McConnell will face another round of insults from conservatives in his bid to keep the Senate in Republican hands.” […]
“The Arizona race is top of mind: McConnell has made no secret that he prefers Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) over pardoned ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio and hard-charging former state Sen. Kelli Ward, according to confidants.” […]
“Arpaio said he wouldn’t support the Kentucky Republican as GOP leader. Ward sent a fundraising email on Wednesday that mentioned McConnell 14 times, and asserted that McConnell, in supporting McSally, wants “Jeff Flake 2.0.” Flake has angered conservatives with his frequent criticism of Trump.” […]
“Eric Beach, a top strategist for Ward, said that she will not make her campaign simply a referendum on McConnell.
“Not even close,” he said when asked to compare her campaign to Blankenship’s. “We’re not going to go in wanting just to blow things up — that’s easy — but to get things done.”
Arpaio has been less direct in his attacks on McConnell, other than to say he won’t support him as leader.” […]
“Still, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was concerned enough about Vice President Mike Pence praising Sheriff Joe Arpaio this month as a ‘tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law’ that he spoke privately to Pence to express his disapproval.
‘Troubled,’ Flake said of his reaction to Pence’s praise for Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt. ‘I mean, given his history, he’s no champion of the rule of the law.’”