McSally sails through a grueling Arizona GOP Senate Primary

ARIZONA [KANWAL ABIDI ] As the voters in Arizona hit the polling stations, a nail biting situation was witnessed between Representative Martha McSally (R) and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D) that could help decide which party controls the Senate.

Martha McSally represents the people of Arizona’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she serves on the Committees on Armed Services and Homeland Security and as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security. Prior to serving in Congress, Representative McSally served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring in 2010 as a full Colonel. She is the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat and first to command a fighter squadron in combat in United States history

McSally, the GOP establishment favorite, won 51 percent of the primary vote with 3 percent of precincts reporting, according to a projection from The Associated Press.

McSally entered the race after Senator Jeff Flake announced his retirement, and she won the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. She beat two Republicans who ran to her right: former state Senator. Kelli Ward, who won 29 percent of the vote, and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who ended up with just 20 percent.

Like other Republican primaries this year, the costly contest largely became a competition about which candidate was most closely aligned to President Trump, who opted not to endorse anybody in the race because of personal connections he had with all three of them. 

McSally’s victory gives national Republicans a sigh of relief, boosting their hopes of retaining a Senate seat being left vacant by retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R), one which has been a hot favorite Republican seat. At her election night party, McSally quickly drew a contrast between her and Sinema. McSally played up her military service, while casting Sinema as an ultra liberal who is “left of the Pelosi Democrats.” And McSally dubbed Sinema with a Trump-style nickname.

“It’s a choice between a doer and a talker, between a patriot and a protester, between a career fighter pilot and a career politician,” McSally said to loud cheers Tuesday night. “Hollywood Sinema, I like to say that—Sinema with a ‘C,'” she added. “She’s undergone an extreme makeover, fabricating a centrist image to fulfill her ambition. She’s a fake production, running on a phony script in order to fool the voters.”

Many Republicans believed McSally was the only viable candidate for the general election, believing that Ward was too far to the right for Arizona’s increasingly diverse electorate.

Kanwal Abidi
Kanwal Abidi is a staff journalist at the The AZB and is a White House Correspondent.

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