Arizona Sen. Martha McSally Can Win Election If She Just Can Avoid 'Opponents'
Martha McSally is worried. Everything was coming up Martha when Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey picked her to fill the late John McCain's Senate seat. But now the junior senator has to hold that seat in 2020, and actual elections are where she has her troubles. Kyrsten Sinema, she of the fierce wardrobe, defeated McSally last year when they were running against each other for Jeff Flake's old seat. Arizona hadn't elected a Democratic senator since 1988.
McSally's likely challenger next year is Mark Kelly, who's a goddamn astronaut. We appreciate her service as an Air Force pilot but really, Kelly's been in space, where the Klingons are. Kelly's identical twin is also an astronaut. McSally has four siblings and none of them are astronauts or even her twin. She can't win this.
Besides, this is Kelly's campaign announcement video. When his awesome wife, Gabby Giffords, shows up, we just lose it. Why are we even bothering with an election?
But before McSally can lose to Kelly next year, she has to survive another primary race, and she'd much rather not have one at all. During last year's GOP primary, she was the supposedly moderate meat in a kook sandwich. To her right there was literal convicted criminal Joe Arpaio. (Donald Trump pardoned him because if racists don't look out for each other, who will?) To her other right was Kelli Ward, who was just awful. She mopped the floor with them but what if she has to face an actual non-cartoon character?
Politico reports that McSally has sounded alarms about skincare company executive Daniel McCarthy. A major donor to Trump's 2016 hostile takeover, McCarthy is just considering a primary challenge, but McSally still whined to anyone important who'd listen. She pleaded with Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Todd Young. She begged some more privately to Trump, and the president agreed to an early endorsement.
This was one of Trump's Mad Libs specials, where he just plugs in a Republican's name, along with random biographical information and issues Trump thinks are important. It's not clear he understands this is a Republican primary, so her opponent will also love WALL, guns, and the military-industrial complex. It's harder when he has to choose between multiple people who pledge their unwavering love and devotion -- unless it's his own family and then the answer is obviously "Ivanka."
McSally's campaign autopsy in 2018 revealed that Trump was political poison. Internal polling showed a "significant segment of Arizona GOP voters was hostile" to the president. McSally failed to win over many moderate Republicans, especially women, precisely because of her support for Trump and Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court. You have to admire McSally's optimism. She's confident Trump's "Complete and Total Endorsement" will work out better for her this time.
The guy who has McSally running scared launched the Phoenix company Makeup Eraser in 2013. He has no previous political experience and is also not an astronaut.
McSally should welcome a serious primary race because it'll give her more time to show voters all the awesome things she's done for them as the senator they didn't want but got anyway. She claimed she lost last year because the general election campaign was too short.
MCSALLY: We didn't get a chance for [voters] to get to know me, what I've done all my life, what I did in the House. We were very aware of these challenges at the time but we ran out of airspeed and altitude. And we weren't defined and resilient enough.
LOL. Her campaign "ran out of airspeed and altitude"? That's unpossible! What is she even talking about? We also think voters knew her well enough, especially her vote to take away their health care. Forty-two percent of voters considered health care the most important issue facing the country and they overwhelmingly backed Sinema.
We'd love it if McSally is a two-time Senate loser. She could serve without ever winning. Now go donate to the Kelly campaign.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.