This is a roundup of the five most important fact checks we did ahead of the 2018 primary and midterm elections.
William Flannigan and Thomas Hawthorne, Arizona Republic
Early voting in Arizona’s primary started Aug. 1 and the AZ Fact Check team is looking back at five times politicians have stretched the truth in an attempt to take down their primary opponent or to set themselves up for the upcoming general election.
For more details on the Fact Checks below and all of the coverage by the AZ Fact Check team, go to AZ Fact Check.
Here are the five Fact Checks to read before you vote in the primary.
1. Kyrsten Sinema claims she stopped a pay raise for Congress — is she right?
In one of her early campaign videos posted on Twitter, U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who is competing for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate against Deedra Abboud, claimed that she stopped Congress from giving themselves a pay raise this year.
Sinema is positioning herself as a moderate politician who is capable of getting things done in Congress. This includes a claim from April that she stepped in and prevented Congress from getting its automatic pay raise this year.
MORE FACT CHECK: Did Sinema stop raises for Congress?
Sinema did write a letter to the Appropriations Committee and even introduced an act that would have blocked the pay increase. But Sinema was not the only member of Congress to take steps to block pay raises.
In fact, blocking its own pay increases seems to be one of the few things Congress has been able to consistently do. Congress has not seen a raise since 2009, and not all of that is thanks to Sinema. Her claim was rated one out of four stars, mostly false.
2. Is Arizona the most politically corrupt state in the nation?
Arizona State University professor and education expert David Garcia is running in the Democratic primary for governor against Kelly Fryer, the executive director of Tucson’s YWCA for the past five years, and state Sen. Steve Farley, veteran of Arizona’s Legislature.
Garcia has focused his campaign on criticisms of Gov. Doug Ducey, including a claim in Garcia’s first campaign ad that under Ducey’s leadership Arizona has been the most corrupt state in the country.
MORE FACT CHECK: Is AZ the most corrupt state in nation?
Garcia’s source for the claim was a Harvard study from the year before Ducey took office.
More recent studies from the same researchers, studies from other groups and the number of corruption convictions in the state under Ducey’s administration have shown that Arizona is middle of the road in terms of government corruption.
While Arizona does have its fair share of corruption, AZ Fact Check gave Garcia’s claim zero stars and a false rating. Since the Fact Check published, Garcia rarely, if ever, makes the claim.
3. Is Ducey responsible for McCain’s ‘no’ vote on ‘Obamacare’ repeal?
Democrats aren’t the only people attacking Ducey this campaign season.
The first-term Arizona governor is facing a primary challenge from Ken Bennett, the former Arizona secretary of state and Senate president who lost to Ducey in the Republican primary four years ago.
Ducey is the heavy favorite and has generally overlooked Bennett. But Bennett has launched numerous attacks on Ducey’s conservative credentials and what he sees as a lack of support for President Donald Trump’s agenda.
MORE FACT CHECK: Did Ducey prompt McCain’s ACA vote?
One of these attacks is his claim that Ducey is responsible for U.S. Sen. John McCain’s “no” vote on an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
Ducey did tweet out his dissatisfaction with the repeal attempt as it stood the day McCain gave his thumbs-down. But both the governor and McCain say that Ducey told the Arizona senator to vote for the repeal, a suggestion McCain simply did not follow.
AZ Fact Check rated that claim zero stars out of four stars, false.
4. Mailer attacking state Sen. Kate Brophy McGee’s record on tax bill misses the mark.
The next Fact Check was not a claim made by a candidate but instead comes from Sunlight Arizona, a program of the progressive non-profit One Arizona attacking state Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, for what it claims is a failure to close Arizona’s corporate tax loopholes.
The group specifically cited her failure to take action on Senate Bill 1415, a bill that would have raised the minimum corporate tax from $50 to $500.
MORE FACT CHECK: Did Sen. McGee do enough on taxes?
The only problem is that bill is currently sitting in a committee that McGee is not a part of, meaning she has not had an opportunity to take any action on it. The Fact Check team gave the claim zero out of four stars, false.
5. Kelli Ward claims Martha McSally has supported amnesty 11 times.
Kelli Ward is facing former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally in the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat.
Ward has consistently attacked McSally for being a “liberal Republican” who is weak on border security. As part of those claims, Ward said that McSally voted for “amnesty” 11 times.
Most of the bills are related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, which provides a temporary protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children.
MORE FACT CHECK: Does Martha McSally support amnesty?
McSally does have a history of supporting protections for DACA recipients, something that she has tried to hide this election, but the mainstream definition of amnesty requires a pathway to permanent legal residence, something that the DACA program does not do.
Of the 11 bills cited by the Ward campaign, only three provide a pathway to permanent legal residence. Two of the bills have yet to receive a vote, leading AZ Fact Check to rate the claim zero out of four stars, false.
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