Here’s what you need to know about Arizona’s Senate candidates: Kyrsten Sinema, Deedra Abboud, Joe Arpaio, Martha McSally and Kelli Ward.
Carly Henry, The Republic |

In a sign of confidence, U.S. Rep. Martha McSally’s campaign said Sunday it had reserved $1.65 million in political-advertisement time for the November general election.

McSally is locked in a three-way Republican primary election, vying against hardline conservatives Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff, and Kelli Ward, the former state senator from Lake Havasu City.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

McSally’s spokeswoman, Torunn Sinclair, said the campaign made the reservation Friday. 

“We’re still focused on the primary, which is why we’re reserving it, but we also feel like we can focus on Kyrsten,” she said, referring to. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic front-runner who faces activist and attorney Deedra Abboud, in the primary. 

“…We’re focused on Kyrsten, and that’s where Republicans should be focused,” Sinclair said. 

‘A doer versus a talker’

Since announcing her run for the Senate last January, McSally has had a wary eye on Sinema, a well-funded opponent, as she stumps for the GOP nomination.

Like so many Republican candidates across the U.S., McSally is walking the tightrope of trying to brandish her conservative credentials without alienating the broader spectrum of voters whose support she would need to secure the seat in the fall. 

Sinema had spent $2.7 million to run 6,200 TV ads from April through mid-July, according to the Kantar Media/CMAG estimates. In those ads, Sinema positions herself as an independent, rational and experienced Congresswoman with a reputation for getting things done. 

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McSally, meanwhile, had spent or reserved nearly $300,000 through mid-July, but her campaign has also received $579,000 in TV help from One Nation. The Virginia-based group has ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove, former President George W. Bush’s political strategist.

McSally aims to project herself as an experienced “doer” whose access to President Donald Trump will be crucial in moving forward a Republican agenda.

In a recent digital ad, McSally targeted Sinema for leaving a rare Congressional field hearing in Phoenix, which focused on the opioid crisis. 

“A doer versus a talker,” the narrator on the ad says. “A patriot versus a politician. Guts versus glitz. Arizona has a clear choice for the United States Senate.”

‘She’s confident in her prospects’


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McSally’s general-election reservation signals to Republican donors and voters that McSally is confident in her prospects for locking down the GOP nomination in a race that could help decide which party controls the chamber.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is not running for re-election, opening up a free-for-all and an onslaught of political advertising. 

Richard Herrera, an Arizona State University associate professor of political science, said the general-election reservation demonstrates that McSally is gearing up to wage a strong and expensive campaign against Sinema. 

“She’s confident in her prospects for getting the nomination. She’s moving forward, she’s making plans,” he said. “She’s also sort of contrasting her resources with Arpaio and Ward.”

McSally had more than $4.25 million cash on hand, according to second-quarter federal campaign filings. Sinema reported $5.4 million cash on hand.

Ward reported $363,338 on hand, while Arpaio came in at $292,000.

McSally’s announcement comes the day before the GOP Senate candidates are scheduled to appear before The Arizona Republic‘s editorial board. That board, which operates separately from the newsroom, traditionally interviews candidates before making an endorsement.

“At this point, nothing is being done by accident,” Herrera said. 

Republic reporter Ronald J. Hansen contributed to this report. 


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