GOP Senate hopeful Kelli Ward leads challengers in internal poll

GOP Senate hopeful Kelli Ward leads challengers in internal poll

Internal campaign polling for GOP Senate hopeful Kelli Ward (Ariz.) finds her leading potential challengers in the Arizona Republican primary.

The poll, obtained first by The Hill, also found Ward leading Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), her potential opponent in the general election race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies for Putin summit: 'He’s not my enemy’ Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Lawmakers demand answers from Mnuchin on tariffs | Fed chief lays out stakes of Trump trade war | Consumer prices rise at highest rate in six years | Feds to appeal AT&T merger ruling MORE (R-Ariz.).

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According to the survey, conducted by the polling firm Revily on behalf of the campaign, Ward has a double-digit lead over the next closest potential challenger in the primary.

Ward takes 34 percent support, followed by Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) at 23 percent, former Rep. Matt SalmonMatthew (Matt) James SalmonArizona GOP tinkers with election rules with an eye on McCain's seat Quiet jockeying for McCain seat angers Republicans McSally tells GOP colleagues she'll run for Arizona Senate MORE (R-Ariz.) at 8.75 percent, activist Craig Brittain at 3.7 percent and businessman Nicholas Tutura at 1.9 percent. Thirty-four percent sad they are undecided.

A broad field of potential candidates is still considering jumping into the race after Flake’s surprise announcement last month that he would not seek reelection.

GOP Reps. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog won’t drop Pruitt probes | Exxon leaves conservative advocacy group | Lawmakers offer changes to Endangered Species Act Western lawmakers introduce bills to amend Endangered Species Act ‘Unmasking Antifa Act' includes 15-year prison term proposal MORE and David SchweikertDavid SchweikertMembers of Congress demand new federal gender pay audit Republican candidate favored in Arizona special House election Ryan leaves legacy of tax cuts and deficits MORE, state attorney general Mark Brnovich, businesswoman Christine Jones, Arizona treasurer Jeff DeWit and former Arizona GOP chairman Robert Graham are among those mentioned as potential candidates.

Ward has already been running for months and will have the support of Breitbart chairman Stephen Bannon and his allied group, the Great America Alliance.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSunday shows preview: Trump readies for meeting with Putin McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 GOP moderates hint at smooth confirmation ahead for Kavanaugh MORE (R-Ky.) this week became the first Republican lawmaker to endorse Ward, but Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKavanaugh gets questionnaires for confirmation hearing Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick Franken offers Dems a line of questioning for Kavanaugh's 'weirdly specific bit of bulls---' MORE (R-Ky.) and his allies are seeking a different candidate. 

The Senate Leadership Fund, which is run by McConnell’s allies, has said it will do everything it can to ensure Ward is not the next senator from Arizona.

“Dr. Kelli Ward has a commanding lead in the primary race,” Ward campaign chairman Ed Rollins said in a statement to The Hill. “With her nearest primary competitor nearly 11 points behind, the notion this would be a wide open race with other Republican candidates jumping in is flat out wrong. Ward is already consolidating the primary electorate and the writing is on the wall — Republican leaders in Washington and Arizona would be wise to get behind her at this point.”

In the general election, the survey found Ward taking 34.2 percent over Sinema, at 32.99 percent, with 32.8 percent undecided. Sinema edges Salmon by 2 points and McSally by 4 in the poll.

“Ward is also in the strongest position to keep the seat in Republican hands,” Rollins said. “She is the only candidate who defeats Kyrsten Sinema in a head-to-head match up, and her broad appeal will only increase as voters learn more about her.”

The survey of 850 general election voters was conducted on behalf of the Ward campaign between Oct. 28 and Oct. 31 and has a 3.3 percentage point margin of error.