Online campaign ad from Jeff Flake starts hitting back at Kelli Ward
PHOENIX — The Arizona primary Senate race between incumbent Jeff Flake and challenger Kelli Ward got a little hotter Tuesday, when an ad portraying her as “embarrassing” and “dangerous” made its debut online.
The ad, sponsored by the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC that has said its mission was to “protect and expand the Republican Senate Majority,” was scheduled to run the next three days. The target markets were Arizona and Washington, D.C.
“We’re not willing to throw this Senate seat away to Democrats by nominating a fringe candidate like Kelli Ward,” Steven Law, Senate Leadership Fund president, told Politico.
The ad, which referred to Ward as “Chemtrail,” showed snippets of her blaming senior Arizona Sen. John McCain for the “rise of ISIS” and repeating her assertion that she should be on the list of his possible replacements.
The 80-year-old McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in July.
Two days after the diagnosis was announced, Ward said the 80-year-old should step down for the good of the country and party and added she hoped to be considered if there was a vacancy.
The super PAC behind Flake poured $10,000 into the ad.
Flake’s hold on his seat for the 2018 midterm elections has been in question of late. Some high-ranking members of his own party have quietly banded together to potentially unseat him.
Ward’s camp released an ad Monday, attacking his conservatism.
Flake has been targeted because of his criticism of President Donald Trump, which was the basis of Flake’s new book, “Conscience of a Conservative.”
Late last week, Trump in a tweet attack, called Flake “toxic” and seemingly gave a thumbs-up to Ward.
The former state senator from Lake Havasu City had recently gotten support from two top political strategists and fundraising machine Great America PAC. She said the group was committed to helping her send into retirement.
Flake has the support of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He has held his seat since 2013.