Mounting Setbacks For Martha McSally’s 2020 Campaign
PHOENIX — Arizona Republicans warned that appointing Martha McSally to the Senate, under pressure from Mitch McConnell and right after she just lost another Senate race, “makes the seat harder to defend” — and halfway through the off-year, that prediction looks increasingly accurate.
Even Republicans have to be watching McSally’s mounting struggles and setbacks pile up and thinking that this is going even worse than they anticipated:
Feuding with Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward: It appears that McSally and Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward didn’t mend fences after their nasty 2018 GOP primary, after all. Last month, Ward publicly complained to Republican activists that she wishes that McSally “would just be quiet” on any disagreements with the president. As for McSally? “Neither Ward nor McSally responded to emails seeking comment.”
Re-Embracing Her Toxic Health Care Record: McSally has aggressively stood by her long record of voting to increase health care costs and gut coverage protections, dismissing suggestions that she’s changed her position as “fake news.” McSally has also stood by her party’s lawsuit to eliminate pre-existing condition coverage protections, insisting that “It’s not my role” to oppose the suit. A week before the 2018 election, McSally admitted that she was “getting my ass kicked” over her health care record, but that hasn’t stopped her from doubling down ahead of 2020.
Voting With Her Party Over Arizonans: McSally has proven herself to be a complete rubber stamp for Mitch McConnell’s corporate special interest and anti-health care agenda, voting with her party more than 97% of the time. And when it comes to confirming Trump’s judicial nominees, McSally has voted for every single one, confirming anti-health care nominees, including those with strict anti-choice views, to lifetime appointments on the federal bench.
Committing (Even More) Campaign Finance Violations: Despite her shockingly long history of breaking campaign finance laws, McSally doesn’t seem to have gotten any more careful in the compliance department. In January, the Federal Election Commission tagged McSally for violating campaign finance laws and taking “more than $270,000 in excessive campaign contributions” during her 2018 campaign — at least $120,000 of which she has definitively returned, according to reporting from the Associated Press.
2019 began so poorly for McSally that, late last month, she announced a “shuffle” of her top campaign leadership. One goal being — per the Arizona Republic — to “help her standing with GOP donors” and “with allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell” who “may have been reluctant to invest in another campaign.”
But McSally’s campaign shakeup misses the point. Martha McSally didn’t lose in 2018 because of her staff, she lost because of her long record of putting corporate special interests over people and failing to be an independent leader for Arizonans. 2020 looks to be no different.