McSally ties Democratic rival Kelly to Sanders in new ad

McSally ties Democratic rival Kelly to Sanders in new ad
© Greg Nash

Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight Democratic super PAC targets McSally over coronavirus response McSally calls on WHO director to step down MORE (R-Ariz.) is tying her Democratic challenger Mark Kelly to progressive presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight MORE (I-Vt.) in a new ad released Tuesday.

“Kelly and Sanders, too liberal for Arizona,” the narrator says in the 30-second ad titled “Bernie Bro.”

“Kelly is quickly making the choice in this election very clear – a vote for Kelly is a vote for the Bernie Sanders socialist policies of government takeover of healthcare, open borders, and massive tax hikes on the middle class,” McSally campaign manager Dylan Lefler said in a statement announcing the ad. “Mark Kelly will be Sanders 51st vote in the Senate."

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The ad claims Kelly said he would support Sanders, though Kelly has given more measured responses when pressed by local news outlets about his support for the Democratic primary’s front-runner.

"Another week and more of the same negative and false attack ads that Arizonans are tired of and rejected in 2018," Kelly spokesman Jacob Peters said in a statement. "Mark is an engineer, combat pilot, and astronaut running to be an independent voice in the Senate, and he will stand up to anyone in either party when it’s right for Arizona.”

Asked last week if he would support Sanders if the Vermont senator became the nominee, Kelly told The Arizona Republic“I will ultimately support who the nominee is of the Democratic Party, that’s clear.”

“There’s 900 delegates that one person is going to need to receive to be the nominee, we’re really at a small number right now,” he added.

A local CBS affiliate reported that Kelly said “we’ll have to see who the nominee is,” when asked if he’ll support the candidate no matter who it is.

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Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut and husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), has been outraising McSally in the Senate race.

McSally launched her campaign earlier this month. She lost her 2018 Senate race against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D), who flipped the seat held by retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcSally campaign to suspend TV ads, canvassing amid pandemic Coronavirus isn't the only reason Congress should spend less time in DC Trump Jr. says he inherited 'Tourette's of the thumbs' from his father MORE.

McSally was later appointed to fill the seat vacated by the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDemocratic super PAC targets McSally over coronavirus response GOP senator suspending campaign fundraising, donating paycheck amid coronavirus pandemic Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much MORE (R-Ariz.).

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the 2020 Senate race in Arizona a “toss-up.”

--This report was updated on Feb. 19 at 12:17 p.m.