Rep. Martha McSally won the Republican Senate primary in Arizona on Tuesday, beating more conservative rivals in another political contest that had evolved into a test of loyalty to President Trump.
Ms. McSally, who was declared the winner by Associated Press over former state senator Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, was the candidate strongly favored by the GOP establishment in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake.
The competition for Mr. Flake’s seat was shadowed by the death of the state’s other Republican senator, John McCain. GOP Gov. Doug Ducey will appoint a temporary replacement, who will serve until a new senator is elected 2020.
The Flake seat is one of Democrats’ top targets in their quest to win a Senate majority, or at least to gain seats. Ms. McSally, a former Air Force fighter pilot, will face Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who had no serious opponent in the Democratic primary, in what will be a national marquee race.
she quoted Trump and played up her use of profanity in her ads. “I’m a fighter pilot and I talk like one!” she said gleefully in one TV spot. She ditched her support for a bill to protect young people who came to this country illegally with their parents, the so-called Dreamers. She boosted the President’s proposed border wall, even though in flashes it was clear she thought the whole thing a boondoggle.
She banned reporters, called legitimate news organizations “fake news” and prayed no one would ask her about Trump.
Wasting no time, McSally quickly turned to the general election. “It’s a choice between a doer and a talker. Between a patriot and a protester,” McSally said. “I’m not a talker, I’m a doer. I’m an aviator, not a bloviator.”
And, for good measure so the President will take notice, she tried a little Trump-style branding of her own. “Hollywood Sinema” doesn’t roll of the tongue like “Little Marco” or “Crooked Hillary,” but it is a signal to the White House that McSally has completed her embrace of Trump and wouldn’t mind it now if the President returned the favor.