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Valley businessman will challenge Sen. McSally in GOP primary

Daniel McCarthy (Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona will officially have a primary challenger ahead of the 2020 election.

Valley businessman Daniel McCarthy told ABC15 on Wednesday that he has decided to face the senator in the GOP primary.

McCarthy, who founded the Makeup Eraser cosmetics firm and Delex Realty with his wife, floated the idea of running over the summer and launched a “listening tour” around the state earlier this month.

“People are demanding common sense. People are demanding integrity,” McCarthy told The Associated Press. “And that’s something that, frankly, a lot of politicians can’t provide them.”

The winner of the primary will likely face Democrat Mark Kelly in the general election.

McSally was appointed to John McCain’s seat after losing to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in last year’s race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

Jon Kyl held McCain’s seat for several months after McCain’s death before stepping down in December, when Gov. Doug Ducey appointed McSally.

GOP forces, including President Donald Trump and state party Chairwoman Dr. Kelli Ward, have lined up firmly behind McSally in hopes of avoiding a serious primary challenger after her experience last year.

McSally and Ward hugged and struck a tone of unity Wednesday following a previously scheduled event for the Trump campaign in Scottsdale.

“I’m endorsed by President Trump, we are unified as a Republican Party,” McSally said. “We are working together and we’re going to make sure that we hold this seat up and down the ticket for Republicans for our future, and that’s our focus.”

In June, Trump endorsed McSally in the 2020 race with a tweet.

The National Republican Senate Committee – the Senate GOP’s deep-pocketed campaign arm – is also publicly backing McSally.

“Senator McSally has been a champion for Arizona – working to secure the border and lower taxes for hard-working families,” NRSC spokeswoman Joanna Rodriguez said in a statement. “She’s received President Trump’s endorsement because she’s the most conservative candidate on the ballot and we look forward to her winning next fall.”

With the GOP’s institutional forces lined up behind McSally, it remains to be seen how big of a threat McCarthy may pose. Unlike her 2018 race, McSally now enjoys the advantage of being an incumbent.

McCarthy said he’ll put his own money into the race but declined to say how much.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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