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Kelli Ward faces tough primary, says former state GOP Chairman

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2017, file photo, Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward speaks at a campaign rally in Scottsdale, Ariz. Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who was spared a possible jail sentence when President Donald Trump pardoned him for disobeying a judge, announced Tuesday that he would run for the Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Jeff Flake. Arpaio's ambitions sparked speculation that he could edge out a former state senator Ward in the GOP primary. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, file)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Republican Senate race took an unfortunate turn for Kelli Ward when former Sheriff Joe Arpaio entered the race, according to former state GOP Chairman Robert Graham.

In a conversation with The Hill, Graham said that Ward is looking at an uphill battle after Arpaio announced his intent to run for Sen. Flake’s open seat, joining Ward and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally.

“With the entrance of Joe Arpaio and now the formal announcement of McSally, this race just got very interesting — and not in a good way — for Kelli Ward,” Graham said.

Arpaio’s name recognition will play a significant role in aiding his campaign, especially considering the fact that he and Ward will be running on similar platforms.

Graham went on to talk about immigration as a major national issue that Arpaio has obvious experience in.

However, he did say that McSally is far from weak on this issue.

“No one can be as conservative as Sheriff Joe on immigration, but I don’t know if you have to be in order to win,” Graham said.

A recent phone poll conducted by Phoenix-area Data Orbital backed Graham’s thinking. Ward is in last among Republicans running with 19 percent support with McSally and Arpaio taking 31 and 22 percent.

The primary election will take place Aug. 28.

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