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Rand Paul endorses Arizona's Kelli Ward

Rand Paul endorses Arizona's Kelli Ward
© Camille Fine

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPaul to Saudi government: 'It takes a lot of damn gall' to lecture US Congress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump says he is cutting foreign aid over caravan | Lawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince | DNC chair downplays 'blue wave' talk MORE (R-Ky.) is backing Republican Senate hopeful Kelli Ward's bid in Arizona, a decision that gives the campaign an important ally ahead of what will likely become a messy primary.

Paul made the announcement Wednesday morning during an interview on Fox News, citing Ward's support during his presidential campaign and their shared work as physicians.

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"She's a thoughtful leader, somebody who is an outsider, not a career politician. I think she would make a great senator from Arizona," Paul said during an interview on "America's Newsroom."

"Some people in the establishment have dumped on her and I'm out there to let people know that conservatives will unite behind Kelli Ward and I think she will have a great chance of being the next senator from Arizona."

Ward responded to the endorsement with a tweet of her own. 

Ward is the only official candidate in the race, now that Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCongress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia Flake says he and his family got death threats 'from the right' Trump boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona MORE (R-Ariz.) announced that he would not run for reelection in 2018. But other Arizona Republicans are seriously considering the race, including Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), state Treasurer Jeff DeWitt and former state GOP chairman Robert Graham.
 
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is the top Democrat in the race, although the prospect of an open seat could prompt other Democrats to take a look at the race too.
 
--This report was updated at 11:41 a.m.