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Can Arizona RINO Martha McSally… Cover Her Border Footprints And March Into U.S. Senate?

August 30, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

PHOENIX — Those who wonder how generally conservative Arizona has John McCain and Jeff Flake as its members of the U.S. Senate could gain insight by observing the desperate campaign strategy for another acknowledged establishment Republican, Cong. Martha McSally, of Arizona’s more-liberal Second Congressional District.
McSally’s main GOP opponent for a U.S. Senate seat in the Arizona primary election scheduled for August 28 is conservative former state senator and physician Kelli Ward.
As the election approached, a frantic barrage of advertising by McSally’s campaign and other groups backing her hammered Ward for, among various alleged transgressions, favoring border “amnesty,” opposing President Trump, and being weak in the fight against international terrorism.
If any candidate in this race had a history of weakness on border issues and hostility toward Trump, it actually would be McSally, who began rewriting her record after distant eastern powerbrokers including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and Karl Rove decided last year that McSally was the Arizona “moderate” who deserved a Senate seat.
They began directing a blizzard of funding into McSally’s candidacy after the late-comer joined the race in January. Ward’s earlier entry into the campaign helped shove the unpopular Flake out of trying to run for a second six-year term. Flake made the surprise announcement of his withdrawal in late October 2017.
Trump had tweeted his pleasure exactly a year ago that Ward was running against Flake. But, as of when this was written on August 21, the president hadn’t endorsed any of the three main candidates for the seat, Ward, McSally, or Trump fan Joe Arpaio, former sheriff of Maricopa County. Presumably McConnell and other meddlers privately begged Trump to bless McSally.
Pro-McSally commercials repeatedly used Trump’s voice speaking well of her in a different context, and if mistaken listeners thought this meant a Senate endorsement, McSally didn’t try to correct them. McSally also falsely was portrayed as a fierce border defender.
National conservative figures endorsing Ward included Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), and former White House strategist Sebastian Gorka.
As the days of August passed, lurid pro-McSally radio and online commercials in quick succession repeatedly blasted Ward with phony accusations. If this was what it took for McSally to win, what kind of honor would her reputation have if she also triumphed in the November general election then waltzed off to Washington?
One blatant accusation was that Ward wanted “restraint and realism” in fighting against ISIS terrorists. A postal mailer making this charge depicted a supposed gun-waving terrorist in front of the black ISIS flag, with a small footnote claiming Ward called for “restraint” during a Phoenix radio talk show in 2016.
However, on August 15 FactCheck.org headlined that this claim “badly misfires.” Actually, FactCheck.org said, Ward counseled restraint when it came to “nation building” and trying to “spread democracy.” As for terrorism, “we have to be willing to decimate ISIS,” not merely contain it, she said.
Hardly a conservative group, FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
On August 15 Phoenix-based ABC 15 Arizona, KNXV-TV, looked at the phony claim that Ward supported “amnesty.” In reality, the station said as it played her voice, Ward opposed some immigration bills in Congress that “granted amnesty without border security first.”
The station reported, “Ward is mostly tough on illegal immigration and the ads are mostly misleading.”
A remarkable confirmation that McSally misrepresented her own weak border record was provided by a March 25 editorial in The Arizona Republic, the state’s largest daily and leading voice of the establishment. It was headlined, “In primary, McSally pulls a McCain.”
In an official expression of the newspaper’s own view, the pro-McSally Republic used the entire top half of its broadsheet-size editorial page to say that McSally was only doing what moderates McCain and Flake had done — misleading voters so as to defeat conservatives.
In a mix of arrogance and contempt for voters, the Republic said that “in primary season in Arizona, the battles are fought in the lowlands of the extreme right. In the past, that has meant moderates like John McCain and Jeff Flake have masqueraded as hard-liners on immigration. . . .
“Now it’s McSally’s turn” to mislead, the Republic said, even though she “is your fairly standard establishment Republican.”
Five months later the Republic used the top half of its broadsheet-sized editorial page again on August 5 to officially praise McSally, under the headline, “McSally’s bipartisan politics shine in primary race.”
The editorial conceded that coverage of this race focused on how McSally had moved right, “particularly on immigration,” “to make herself more competitive” against Ward and Arpaio. This put her in the “precarious position” of “walking that tightrope,” the paper said.
Drawing toward its conclusion, the Republic’s editorial board said, “Maybe McSally is pulling a John McCain . . . to survive a hotly contested primary from two conservative challengers.”
Many voters don’t closely follow politics throughout the year, so the major information they may have could come from election-season advertising, truthful or not.
Conservative GOP political consultant Constantin Querard told The Wanderer on August 19 that “the average voter doesn’t know much about McSally’s voting record, only that according to her ads she’s tough on the border and President Trump says good things about her. It is therefore up to Ward and Arpaio to point out her real record.”
However, Querard said, Arpaio is in the race to siphon votes away from Ward, while Ward can’t match McSally’s establishment campaign funding.
“The problem is that Arpaio is only running to damage Ward and help McSally, so it is all up to Ward,” Querard said, “and she doesn’t have nearly enough money to compete with the establishment dollars coming in for McSally. So many voters only know the one thing they hear again and again.
“Can it work? Of course it can, as it routinely did for McCain and Flake,” Querard said. “And as long as McSally or the Democrat (general election probability Kyrsten) Sinema end up in the Senate, you can be sure they won’t care about voter reaction when their real ideology is revealed. They’ll each have five years of being themselves before beginning the election year dance back to the right, just like McCain has done for decades.”

Look At The Records

Rob Haney, a retired chairman of the Phoenix-based Maricopa County Republican Party, told The Wanderer on August 21 that McSally backers like Senate leader McConnell and Rove thought Arpaio’s vote-siphoning candidacy against Ward would give McSally the GOP primary victory, so they’d concentrate on beating Democrat Sinema in the November general election.
However, Haney said, “once Ward’s limited-funded ads hit in June and July exposing McSally’s dismal voting record and anti-Trump statements, the polling tightened. McSally and her backers did a rethink and launched a dishonest, blistering attack on Ward, ignoring Arpaio, who had fallen farther behind. I have always believed that voters could determine the best candidate by who endorses or funds the candidate.”
Naming such Ward backers as Hannity and Ingraham listed above, Haney added, “On the other hand, McSally’s RINO backers include McCain apologist and Comprehensive Immigration Reform proponent former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, Sen. Mitch McConnell, ‘Bush architect’ Karl Rove, Jeb Bush, and McCain confidant and former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington.
“Victories heavily favor the well-funded candidate who can flood the airwaves to win the votes of the poorly informed,” Haney said. “We would have much better governments if the poorly informed cared enough to examine the candidates’ record and backers, as opposed to their pamphlets and the left’s media bias.”
And just think. If former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had kept the home she temporarily owned in Scottsdale, Ariz., earlier in this decade, she might have run for this seat, too.

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