Senate GOP campaign arm asking Trump to endorse McSally in Arizona: report
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is asking President Trump to endorse Rep. Marthy McSally (R), who is in a GOP primary fight for Senate in Arizona, according to Politico.
In a recent phone call, Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.), the chairman of the NRSC, asked Trump to make the endorsement. But the report says Trump did not commit.
McSally is running in the Aug. 28 GOP primary to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R). McSally is seen as the favorite in the primary and the preferred candidate of establishment Republicans, but she is running against two conservative firebrands: former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former state Sen. Kelli Ward.
Arpaio has been a strong supporter of Trump, and last year Trump pardoned the former sheriff after he was convicted of criminal contempt of court.
The sheriff’s office under Arpaio was found to have racially profiled Hispanics to check their immigration status. Arpaio was found in contempt after the sheriff’s office continued those practices despite a judge’s order.
Trump has commended Ward’s candidacy in the past, tweeting last year, “Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!”
Ward responded to the Politico story on Twitter Friday, saying “Amnesty @SenCoryGardner begging for @realDonaldTrump to endorse Martha McSally’s failing campaign won’t work. President Trump knows Arizona doesn’t want or need another weak, open borders #NeverTrump Senator like @JeffFlake or @SenJohnMcCain. #VoteWard #AZSEN.”
Ward and Arpaio have attacked McSally, claiming that she is not a strong supporter of Trump’s agenda.
Many establishment Republicans worry that a Trump endorsement for one of the other candidates could tilt the race and leave the GOP with a tougher general election fight.
Trump last week endorsed immigration hard-liner Kris Kobach for governor of Kansas. Kobach, Kansas’s secretary of state, was in a tightly contested primary, and some Republicans advised Trump against endorsing him, worrying that Dems could take the governor’s race in November. Kobach has a slight lead over incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) in the vote-count, which could head to a potential recount.
Trump has jumped into other races this election cycle, endorsing candidates and even traveling to their districts to hold rallies.
The president told Fox News host Sean Hannity earlier this year that he would campaign “six or seven days a week” closer to the midterms. He recently predicted a “giant RED WAVE” for Republican candidates.
McSally leads her opponents in primary polls, with the winner likely to face Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) in the general.
“It’s pretty obvious which of our candidates have a best chance of winning,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Politico in May.
The White House and the NRSC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.
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