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McSally announces bid for Arizona Senate seat

Arizona Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyPacific Command chief: 'Fair' to criticize Olympic coverage of North Korea Overnight Finance: Shutdown looms | Paul holds up Senate vote | House GOP scrambles for budget votes | What's in the deal | Dow falls 1,000 points for second time this week | Conservatives threaten Fed nominee | Trump announces IRS pick House GOP leaders scramble for budget votes MORE (R) has officially announced her bid for Senate, a long-awaited announcement that caps a busy week in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March Outgoing GOP rep: Republican Party 'heading into trouble' in election MORE (R).

McSally is expected to formally announce her bid Friday morning in a tour across the state, but her campaign tipped its hand by releasing a video hours before.

The spot leans heavily on her experience as the first female combat fighter pilot and portrays her as an ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE.

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Her blunt talk in the video shows a push to connect to Republicans across the spectrum, an important challenge for McSally considering she will be facing off in the GOP primary against two controversial candidates in former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former state Sen. Kelli Ward.

"Like our president, I'm tired of PC politicians and their BS excuses. I'm a fighter pilot and I talk like one — that's why I told Washington Republicans to grow a pair of ovaries and get the job done," she says in the video.

"Now, I am running for the Senate to fight the fights that must be won. On national security, economic security and border security."

McSally is seen by many as the more establishment alternative to both Arpaio and Ward, who have built up a following among the more conservative segments of the GOP primary field.

Arpaio is a sheriff known for his hard-line and controversial border-security policies, as well as his ardent belief that former President Obama forged his birth certificate.

Ward unsuccessfully launched a primary campaign in 2016 against Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R) and had been working to fashion herself the choice for Arizona's more conservative voters in this election.

But McSally makes a clear attempt to appeal to the party's right flank in her video, immediately reminding voters about her successful challenge to military rules that mandated women wear an Islamic robe over their uniform while in some Muslim countries.

"I absolutely refused to bow down to Sharia law. After eight years of fighting, I won my battle for the religious freedom of American servicewomen," she said.

And she also tries to tie herself tight to Trump, including a picture of her with the president and video of the president calling her "tough" in her announcement.

All three candidates will likely try to leverage their ties to Trump to their benefit.

Arpaio served as a campaign surrogate for Trump, who pardoned Arpaio after a conviction related to a racial-profiling case.

Ward, who has been backed by former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, has framed her campaign as an extension of Trump's "America First" agenda, although that could be more difficult now that Trump is feuding with Bannon.

But while McSally is trying to align herself with the president now, she refused to endorse his presidential bid, ammunition that her opponents might use to launch their own attacks on the campaign trail.

The GOP primary winner will likely face off against Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, the front-runner in the Democratic primary.

Democrats have been emboldened by Flake's retirement to make a strong challenge for the seat and believe the state, which includes a significant portion of Hispanic voters that typically lean to the left, is one of the best offensive opportunities for the party facing a tough Senate map.