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Sen. McSally distances herself from Arizona GOP ‘dead in his tracks’ email

PHOENIX – U.S. Sen. Martha McSally is distancing herself from an Arizona GOP fundraising email that vowed to stop a potential Democratic opponent, whose wife was the victim of gun violence, “dead in his tracks.”

“Those are definitely the words I would not have used,” McSally told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Monday afternoon.

The controversial email sent Thursday by Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward highlighted Mark Kelly’s position on gun control, a cause the retired astronaut took on after his wife and then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords survived a 2011 shooting in Tucson that killed six and injured more than a dozen.

“Support the Republican Party of Arizona today and, together, we’ll stop gun-grabber Mark Kelly dead in his tracks,” Ward wrote.

Kelly is likely to be the Democratic nominee to face McSally next year in her attempt to hold the seat vacated after John McCain’s death last year.

“I don’t agree with Mark Kelly,” McSally said. “I think he’s out of step with Arizona on this issue, but those are definitely the words that I would not have used.”

McSally said she hadn’t discussed the matter with Ward.

Ward defended her email on Twitter and blasted journalists for reporting on the controversy. She told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Chad Benson Show on Monday she doesn’t wish Kelly any harm.

“Taking an idiom that’s been around for over 200 years and trying to mislead people who are reading articles or are trying to hear reports into thinking that Republicans in Arizona want a politician dead,” Ward said. “Now we know nothing can be further from the truth.”

Jacob Peters, a Kelly spokesman, called Ward’s email “dangerous.”

“This dangerous rhetoric has absolutely no place in Arizona and is what’s wrong with our politics,” he said last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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