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As Trump Travels To Shore Up GOP . . . Arizona Senator Could Use More Oomph For Victory

February 23, 2020 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

PHOENIX — President Trump accomplished a lot against long odds in both winning and working at his presidency, so he may be able to score another triumph and carry Sen. Martha McSally (R., Ariz.) across the finish line in November’s elections, helping to maintain the slim GOP Senate majority.
Trump isn’t helped, however, by the fact that a plainly reluctant McSally had been chosen in 2017 to run for a Senate vacancy by the same East Coast establishment elite that deeply opposed Trump’s presidential run. Nor was McSally, a two-term congresswoman, an early, enthusiastic Trump supporter.
McSally managed to lose that race narrowly to a left-wing Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema, in November 2018 for the seat of retiring one-term GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, but she enjoyed the good fortune of being appointed to Arizona’s other Senate spot soon thereafter by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.
Because McSally is filling a vacancy that originated with Sen. John McCain’s death while in office in 2018, she faces voters already this year to retain the seat in a special election.
Trump was on a western campaign swing through California, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado to shore up GOP support when he landed here on February 19 for a ride around 6 p.m. to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the state fairgrounds, along West McDowell Road. Phoenix police tweeted that the coliseum, which seats around 15,000 people, was at capacity.
Trump later said that an additional 21,000 people couldn’t get in.
When the Phoenix Suns NBA team played at the coliseum for 24 years in the latter twentieth century, before moving to fancier quarters downtown, the fairgrounds venue with its saddle-shaped roof was called the Madhouse on McDowell.
With what seemed to be his style of carefully arranged timing, Trump spoke here while Democratic presidential candidates debated on national television in Las Vegas, about 300 miles northwest of Phoenix.
If Trump intended his February 19 evening rally to convey some of his arena-filling star power to McSally at the lectern, he didn’t seem to try too hard. She was next to him for only four minutes and didn’t achieve any wow moments. Trump also had lauded McSally back at an Arizona rally during her 2018 campaign, but it didn’t save her then.
McSally began her brief comments on February 19 by referring lamely to “the liberal hack media in the back.” Dissing lying left-wing media may work when Trump roars it, but this only reprised a McSally comment to a reporter as she rushed past him, without confronting him, in Washington, D.C., in mid-January.
A liberal New York magazine’s website observed at that time, “McSally does not have a reputation as a fire-breather, which makes her attack all the more jarring.”
Was she only looking for a few cheap conservative points?
Trump’s hour and 22-minute Phoenix talk began at exactly 7:30 p.m. local time. Seventeen minutes later he introduced Ducey to take the stage, followed one minute later by other prominent Arizona Republican politicians.
In a significant vignette, Trump also brought forward Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer as well as Arizona Republican Party Chairman Kelli Ward, DO.
Arizona’s Native Americans vote more for Democrats than Republicans, so it didn’t hurt to show a high Navajo official sharing the stage with this GOP team.
Moreover, Dr. Ward modestly maneuvered herself behind Lizer, who wasn’t exactly thrusting himself forward on the stage. Whatever her intention, this amounted to a smart and generous tactical move, giving him more of the spotlight than her.
At 7:53 p.m. Trump announced McSally while he denounced the likely Democrat choice for the November Senate election, former astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of former Cong. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat liberal who had to retire from her seat after being severely injured in a 2011 assassination attempt in her Tucson district by an unhinged gunman.
Kelly, who poses as a moderate, has tended to run somewhat ahead of McSally in polling.
However, Laurie Roberts, an often-liberal columnist at The Arizona Republic, the state’s largest daily, attacked Kelly on February 19 for sidestepping the question of whether the Democratic Party is moving too far to the left with self-proclaimed socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, of Vermont.
Characterizing Sanders as “so far left,” Roberts wrote in criticism of Kelly: “Surely a guy with an ‘independent outlook,’ one who claims to be a moderate, can act like one and state his opposition to a front-running candidate who talks about socialism and free stuff for everybody.”
Trump, criticizing Kelly at the coliseum, said that “even the Democrats don’t like him much,” but, the president added, McSally “is tough as hell, and that’s so what we need.”
Not exactly sounding so tough, McSally at the lectern told the audience that Trump’s State of the Union address on February 4 “brought tears to my eyes in many places.” But she proceeded to knock Kelly for saying that if he had been in the Senate, he would have voted to convict and remove Trump from the presidency at his impeachment trial.
McSally said that Kelly is flying as Bernie Sanders’ wingman while she is Trump’s wingman.
Both McSally and Kelly had been military pilots.
At 7:57 p.m., only four minutes after the president brought her forth, McSally surrendered center stage, allowing Trump to resume his familiar rather stream-of-consciousness routine until 8:52 p.m. He talked of his accomplishments and ripped his foes.
Early on, Trump had saluted his fans as believers “in God, family, and country.” At 8:39 p.m. he turned to the pro-life issue by condemning Democrats for supporting “extreme late-term abortion.” The audience cheered when he added that “every child (is) a sacred gift from God,” and eight minutes later he said, “We believe in the dignity of work and the sanctity of life.”
He highlighted a local angle by recalling that the infamous tarmac chat at the airport between then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and advantage-seeking Bill Clinton had been in Phoenix in June 2016, when Clinton, a veteran of heart surgery, later claimed to have chatted innocently about playing golf here.
June is traditionally the hottest month of the year in Phoenix, before moister air from the Gulf of Mexico seasonally moves up the Rio Grande Valley.
Trump said it would have been 120 or 121 degrees when Clinton supposedly was on the links.
After boasting that “America is thriving like never before . . . the best is yet to come,” Trump took his leave into cooler February night air, a temperature in the 60s, before returning to Air Force One for a short hop to Las Vegas.
Before McSally can get to the November election, however, she is being challenged for the Senate nomination in August’s Republican primary by Daniel McCarthy, an energetic Phoenix-area businessman who emphasizes the U.S. Constitution.
On February 19 the unofficial “Republican Briefs” daily online update said McCarthy was scheduled for nine events through February 26, beginning with attending the Trump rally here.
McSally has made a habit of ducking debates with McCarthy, as she often did during her 2018 Senate race when two GOP primary-election foes wanted to face off with her.
The Wanderer asked Arizona conservative GOP political consultant Constantin Querard about McSally’s energy level in light of her record of avoiding debates.
“I don’t think it has been a question of the energy she brings when she is campaigning as much as her last campaign kept her away from voters quite a bit,” Querard said.
“Some of that is the almost unavoidable response to the gotcha game the media plays with Republicans, but McSally in the 2020 race has been quite a bit more accessible than has Mark Kelly, her Democrat rival,” he said.
“The Democrats have him put away in bubble wrap practicing his answers to questions, and they rarely let him out to speak publicly,” Querard said. “McCarthy is working hard, which isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows him; he goes full speed all the time on virtually everything.
“This is likely to be one of the closest Senate races in the country, with Trump versus ‘Fill in the Blank’ making a huge difference in the overall outcome,” he said. “With major issues like judges playing an oversized role, Senate seats are going to be very much on the minds of voters. So the nominees are going to have all of the money and support they need and voters are going to get very tired of the ads!”

A Vocal McCain Supporter

Rob Haney, a retired chairman of the Phoenix-based Maricopa County Republican Party, commented to The Wanderer on challenges for McSally.
“I believe Sen. McSally is being viewed as a McCain-legacy candidate and that, combined with voter fraud, will lessen her chances of retaining her Senate seat,” Haney said. “McSally was a vocal McCain supporter and followed his lead in refusing to support candidate Trump in the 2016 election.
“Therefore, the enthusiasm that drives platform conservatives to work and vote for President Trump is generally missing from potential McSally voters. In Arizona, Republican candidates typically win on election night, but carry-in ballots reverse the results over the next week,” he said.
“A.J. LaFaro, the last conservative Maricopa County Republican Party chairman, discovered the Democrat Party practice of harvesting thousands of voter ballots. He fought this obvious voter-fraud practice and encouraged the Republican-led legislature to pass a law banning it,” although allowing for a few limited exceptions, Haney said, adding that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the law unconstitutional.
“Former Sen. John McCain’s leadership for the illegal-alien invasion has turned Arizona from a red glow to a blue hue,” he said. “We now have two more key Arizona election officials who are Democrats and who have implemented many new biased procedures. These procedures favor Democrat voter-registration events and polling locations, while ignoring similar Republican events/locations.
“My concern is that we will have a repeat of the last two Arizona election cycles, where Republicans win on election night but lose after a week-long count of questionable carry-in ballots,” Haney said. “Democrat officials fight to ensure that these ballots are counted, while the Republican officials have demonstrated neither the will nor courage to fight for the integrity of the vote.”
Another pundit contacted by The Wanderer declined to comment on McSally.

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On this painful Palm Sunday I pray that we can all cling to the joy that the Lord Jesus is keeping His Promise, He is still with us. It is excruciating not to receive Him in Communion but He awaits us “in the room next to us” May Spiritual Communion place us in His Real Presence

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