Arizona newspaper backs Democrat in dead heat Senate race

Arizona newspaper backs Democrat in dead heat Senate race
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The Arizona Republic is backing Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) in her contentious Senate race against Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyArizona New Members 2019 House GOP returns to Washington after sobering midterm losses Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — First lady's office pushes for ouster of national security aide | Trump taps retired general as ambassador to Saudis | Mattis to visit border troops | Record number of female veterans to serve in Congress MORE (R-Ariz.), the paper announced in an editorial on Sunday. 

The endorsement of Sinema is the paper's first for a Democrat in a statewide Senate race since at least 2000, according to Axios. The Arizona Republic first backed a Democrat for any office in the 2016 when it endorsed Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTexas history curriculum to emphasize that slavery played 'central role' in Civil War Election Countdown: Abrams ends fight in Georgia governor's race | Latest on Florida recount | Booker, Harris head to campaign in Mississippi Senate runoff | Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority Texas education board approves restoring Hillary Clinton in history curriculum MORE in her presidential bid. 

Rather than pointing to particular policy positions in the endorsement, the editorial board pointed to how the candidates have handled themselves during the race.

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"We need to get back to a saner time, when senators didn’t call each other names — or if they did, they could put it all aside after the vote and go get a beer together," the paper's editorial board wrote. "There is too much 'us and them' in D.C., and it hurts how we are governed."

"The real Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema know that," the board argued. "But Sinema is the only one willing to say it (repeatedly) from behind her mask."

The editorial board argued that McSally has gone further than Sinema in attacks on her opponent. 

"There may be no better example of politics by collaboration than Sinema," the paper's editorial board wrote, also pointing out that over 60 percent of the bills she has co-sponsored this session were introduced by Republicans and that Sinema sides "with Trump's agenda 62 percent of the time."

"She has traveled a long ways from the street-marching activist she once was to the good-natured centrist she now is," the paper's board said. "In a Washington in which rancor and malice are disturbingly normal, Sinema is the antidote."

The unprecedented endorsement comes with the election only weeks away and Sinema and McSally caught in a statistical tie in polling